Analytical Summary: Women and the Agricultural Revolution Elise Boulding in her article, Women and the Agricultural Revolution, argues that women played a key role in initiating the Agricultural Revolution. She defines the revolution as happening within two stages: horticulture and agriculture proper. Women had a prominent role within the earlier form, horticulture. Horticulture is defined as farming for subsistence only. Women’s roles on the farm were not as dominant as society grew to farming for surplus instead. Boulding begins the article by discussing the shift society made from wandering nomads to settled villagers.
She explains that it was women who recognized that plants could be easily domesticated. It was because of the domestication of plants that people decided to eventually settle down. In doing so, the early settlers exchanged the fairly simplistic nomadic life to that of a hard-working farmer. Throughout the essay, Boulding emphasizes the role women played in initiating this revolutionary shift.
She describes the main duties women had and the status they held within a horticulture society. However, this changed as the purpose of farming shifted to agriculture proper. According to Boulding, women’s influence on the Agricultural Revolution began very early on. Women had recognized the significance of einkorn, a nutritious plant that was easy to cultivate. It was because of women recognizing that plants could be domesticated that nomads were introduced to farming.
The Industrial Revolution had a significant impact on Western society and the effects were numerous and mainly positive. The Industrial Revolution began in England in the 1790’s and spread throughout Europe and eventually to America. The extensive effects of the Industrial Revolution influenced almost every aspect of daily life and human society in some way. During this time period, ...
They slowly decided to settle in areas where einkorn and other food sources grew. In the early stages of the settled life, women exercised an important share on the farm. They did much of the planting and gathering, and Boulding states that women probably even constructed the mud-houses in the early villages. In this horticulture society, children also helped women. They carried out many chores on the farm, such as taking care of animals and gathering grain.
These roles would change as farming shifted to agriculture proper. At horticulture stage, the farming of these early people was for the purpose of providing enough food for the family. In these farms, women were able to farm the lands without much aid. Instead, they used simple small hand tools to do the work. However, once the farms grew in size and they had a surplus of food, they required more help.
Gradually, as the farms grew, there was a shift from merely farming to provide for the family, to farming for economic profit as well. As a result, Boulding argues that women were no longer the main workers on the farm. Women continued to help the development of the Agricultural Revolution despite their role change. Originally, women used digging sticks for gathering, planting, and growing plants. As the farming purpose changed, however, the tools changed as well.
The plow and animals were used for cultivation, making women less visible on the field. Yet, women continued to help by creating baskets and discovering pottery, all of which enabled them to store more grain. The importance of women during this time period was reflected on their status within their society. Many of the tribes were “matrilocal”, the eldest women and her children held much of the family’s property. The power was held with the women. In addition, the men lived separately from the women and children.
Yet as farming changed to agriculture proper, the homes were combined and there were more interactions between the husband and wife. According to Boulding, women were fundamental in initiating the Agricultural Revolution. The author describes the many contributions women made during the this revolution and the impact that they had on society. Boulding makes it clear that women were highly influential players in the transformation of the nomadic society to the agricultural one, but their role became less obvious when society shifted from a lifestyle of farming for sustenance to one that farmed for economic profit.
A womans role is primarily that of a wife and a mother do you agree? The big debate about a womans role, and place in the society has been going on for a long time, and is still continuing. Women have been fighting to be able to stand on the same podium as men for over decades of years. However, I do agree with the given statement that the primary role of women in the society is to be a wife and a ...