How would you describe the position of women in Maycomb with details and examples at the time represented in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?

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engtchr5 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Women at large in Maycomb County still held true to the idea that women should be "ladies;" that is, they should either be homemakers or occupy a "feminine" profession like secretary, teacher, telephone operator, or seamstress. What's more, they tend to believe that women should be submissive to men, and should fulfill "biblical" roles inside and outside of the home. These ideas are the very thing that sparks controversy at the ladies' society gatherings, where they determine whose behavior has not been meeting societal standards.

Most of the women in Maycomb fall into the first category of homemaker. Of all the women mentioned, however, Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose probably best exemplifies the "extreme" of how women are perceived (and how they perceive each other) in Maycomb.

She tells Scout that it's a shame her father allows her to simply "run loose" and wear un-feminine clothing like overalls, among other things. In fact, she goes so far as to tell Scout that she needs to put on a dress to be more ladylike. She also considers the word "Hey" rude in contrast to more formal greetings (Good morning, good evening, hello, etc.). 

The other women of the town are gossips (Miss Stephanie Crawford, in particular). They are most concerned with the appearance and lifestyles of others, as indicated by story dialogue.  

jessecreations eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a lengthy question, so I will give you some ideas.

 Think about the ladies in the society meeting, and how they react to Scout's behavior.  Their entire purpose seems to be gossipping and sounding superior.

The other women in the town are well-respected, but they are not considered in significant decisions or serious situations. 

Miss Maudie is an interesting character, because she defies some of the typical expectations of her gender.  She is a good contrast to some of the other women in the town. 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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