The west gave chances for women to develop, challenge their skills, test new talents, and to broaden the scope of their home and community service. Most women, who traveled to the western frontier, went out of necessity, looking for husbands (if single) and new opportunities. Women were tasked with having to do mens work as they traveled to get to the western frontier.
After the women arrived on the west side they found in many ways the hardship was not over, but had just begun. Not every woman who moved west was attached to a family. There were single women seeking adventure, or a change of pace, who were eagerly migrating west as well. Sadly, there were also women who lost their husbands early after arriving in the Midwest. Compared to housing they left behind they found these homes very different. During the travel women learned to make do which was beginning to be a good thing to learn. As stated in the articles much of women's work was tied to domestic manufacture. Women quickly found themselves doing double duty. Usually early morning and late afternoons women would plow, milk cows, raise animals and many other things during the course of a typical workday. But some women became teachers and writers or were already doing theses things before the movement. Several women owned boarding houses. These same women were still the keepers of the home and family. Although factories had begun to carry more produce and things that were needed women still made their own food, clothing, and products needed for a living. They would also make things and sell them or trade them for things they needed for their family. They made the decision to do this because they didn't yet have enough money to get things from factories. By fulfilling theses duties the women had an influence on the family decision making process. Women then weren’t so different yet were very different from women now, some focused on family life, others cut their own path in a man’s world, and still other’s preferred a life working indoors.
Along with the suffering that pioneer women endured came advantages and freedoms that were not available to them back in the east. Pioneer women were responsible for creating and putting new forms of relating and behaving on the frontier. They took much of what they left in the east and used it to create new educational, new social, and spiritual institutions that worked on the frontier. In experiencing new freedoms, some women were direct enough to successfully participate in politics, which was unheard of in the East. In the East physicians, lawyers, and school teachers were men, there was such a demand for professionals in the West, that a few western universities started educating women. These new professionals were able to do quite well on the frontier in such professions.
Respect is probably the biggest thing pioneer women gained out on the frontier. Men have always been more dominant than women, especially in the time before the...