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The role of women in the American colonies was not the same for all women at all times. Please follow the link for a good, in-depth discussion of this topic.
Overall, though, the role of women was subordinate to men, but not in the same ways as it would later be.
Women during this time were legally subordinate to men. For example, women could generally not own any property. They were always the legal dependents of some man, whether it be their father or their husband or even their son. Women, of course, could not vote.
On the other hand, women were much more equal to men economically during this time than they would later be. During this time, most economic activity was done in the household (as opposed to off at some factory or something) and women played a significant role. Women would be in charge of, for example, caring for animals, collecting eggs, making butter, and making clothes. All of these were important economic activities. It was only later that all the money came from outside the home and women came to be more of housekeepers than important economic players.
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