The presence of women actually improved the journey for everyone involved. According to Catherine Haun, when women were along for the travels, more attention was paid to cleanliness. This means that the entire convoy was more sanitary. This likely reduced the amount of illness and disease that people experienced as they traveled west.
Women were also responsible for taking care of the children that were accompanying their families. Their roles in the procession were often the same roles they fulfilled at home—that of a mother and a homemaker. They cooked, cleaned, and served regular meals. They dealt with laundry and mending.
Women could also keep up the morale and provide healthcare for members of the traveling party. They could soothe fevered brows, clean wounds, and encourage the men to push on. They offered comfort and safety. When a man was unable to do what he was supposed to do, a woman who was physically capable could take his place and do his chores.
One interesting thing that...
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