Tuesday, March 12th
Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center,
325 West Federal Street, Downtown Youngstown
Free adjacent parking
Traci Manning, the Historical Society’s Curator of Education, will speak about the courageous and bold women who shattered social norms and busted traditional gender spheres during this nation’s darkest hours. Case studies will highlight such women as Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, Elizabeth Keckley, and Laura Keene. These women felt compelled to transform their lives for the betterment of both themselves and their nation. During the mid 19th century, most women lived in two very separate worlds: public and private. Their public life was controlled by the idea that men were in charge and most professional fields were beyond the capabilities of a woman. Their private life centered on The Cult of Domesticity, or True Womanhood, and was defined by four pillars – purity, piety, submissiveness, and domesticity. Women were seemingly bound by these laws, but the political turmoil of the era began to open doors previously locked.
As hundreds of thousands of men enlisted to fight in the emerging Civil War, entire towns were wiped clean of their adult male populations. Women across both sides of the conflict were running households and farms, managing businesses, and overseeing the jobs of those men. For many women, this was the first time they had control over aspects of their public lives, and for some women, this freedom gave them the opportunity to publically question the preconceived notions of traditional gender roles. It took another 55 years before women were given the right to vote, but these women, and so many others, laid the groundwork for a path to gender equality.
This hour long presentation will feature photographs, quotes, and the voices of these women.