The Civil War and Women’s Rights


The English Civil War was hard on women. In addition to the usual strains of helping run businesses and constant childbirth and childrearing, they had to cope with absent men – 1/4 of them fought in the war. Many of them built barricades and gave money to the battle, but they were treated as they were in law – with no rights, so their petitions to parliament for payment, for food for the poor were ignored. Only the Levellers supported women’s rights, which is why so many women were supporters of them.

Traditionally, power belonged to those with land, and there were women who inherited land, so were allowed to vote in local and national elections, though of course they held no high offices but were active on parish councils. Single women and widows were treaded as independent.  But the Civil War changed this. This is from Stevie Davies’ Unbridled…

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