Get Educated

Ladies, you might be asking yourselves - why would female friendship matter to me? Why would I concern myself with such matters when I am happily married and have a loving family? Although your domestic life may seem safe and secure, the society we live in can be a very hostile place. Since both the state and the law see you as inferior citizens, your only recourse is to seek alliances with women like yourself. In order to understand the importance of these feminine relationships, you need to first understand the position you are in as a modern Eighteenth Century woman.

Here are some facts about your social, legal, and marital status that you may not be aware of. First, the law views women in two different states: married (feme covert) and single (feme sole). A single woman is allowed more legal and social freedom than a married woman. She can own property, make contracts, sue, and be sued. [1]

Once you are married, however, you lose many of of these liberties. You will no longer be seen as an individual, instead you merge into one with your husband. Any property you own will be immediately turned over to him. You can no longer enter into contracts, you cannot sue or be sued, and you have no rights to your children. You can't even leave your house without your husband's permission. Since citizenship is attributed to land-owning, you are not considered a citizen in your own country.Furthermore, your suffering of his infidelities and drunken fiascos does not guarantee you your widow's rights when he dies. Recent trends in equity law (the law was established to look out for married women) show that you could not receive the full amount, or any, of your dower (the one third of his property you are entitled to).[2]

While all of this may seem shocking - remember that there is action you can take to protect yourself! The current political and economic climate is making it easier for women to branch out, make friends, and find support groups. The Secret Society of British Gentlewomen has established this site to help you understand the changes in society, and how you can use these changes to the best of your advantage.

Would you like to learn more about these new developments?


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