Pre Columbian Women's Rights

By: Livvi Mansager

How were women's rights different between the Spanish and the Native American Southwest societies?

Finding: Most Southwestern Native American women had more rights in their societies than Spanish women in the Pre Columbian era.

Native American Women (Specifically Southwestern Tribes)

  • Women held religious roles, medical roles and could have the final say in tribal decisions.
  • They ran the home while the male were out hunting or fighting.
  • Women held the ability to own tools and took care of the household.
  • The creation of baskets, gathering food and hemming clothes were handled by women.
  • Women also had no need to be chaste, it was not frowned upon to have sex without the purpose of procreation.
Source: Calisphere Pre-Columbian-18th Century

Spanish Women

  • Women in Spanish societies held very few important roles, besides taking care of the household and the children.
  • They could not own land or tools and had limited skills because of a lack of education.
  • Women were seen as promiscuous if they slept around and sex tended to be a taboo subject for their societies.
Source: Women in the Crucible of Conquest