Q:

What were the roles of women in the Iroquois Confederacy?

A:

Quick Answer

Some roles of women in the Iroquois Confederacy included producing offspring, taking care of children, cooking, clothing children and assuming different roles in politics. Iroquois women were highly regarded, which is why some of them were responsible for choosing leaders and even removing some men from leadership positions.

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Full Answer

According to Iroquois traditions women owned the children and so would remain with their young ones even if they divorced their husbands. The women were responsible for farming and preparing meals for the family.

Women were also in charge of things like clothing and maintaining the hygiene of their children. Even though no one was allowed to own land, women were generally entrusted with stewardship of the resource.

Clan mothers were held in very high esteem and had the power to choose from among members of the community those who would become leaders. However, if a chosen leader showed signs of corruption or misrule, he would be dethroned by the same women who chose him.

Worthy of note is that family lineage was traced through mothers as opposed to fathers as is the case in most cultures across the globe. The Iroquois culture is particularly unique because it is one of the few that gave equal social rights to women.

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