After reading “Gender and Cultural Diversity in the Early Contact Period” I learnt a lot regarding how societies were organized. There is an obvious difference between the European and the Indigenous culture. More specifically, there is a huge difference in equality within genders.
At the very beginning, the Indigenous culture was mainly matriarchal societies. It wasn’t until their population began growing that men became an important part of the society. For some indigenous groups, these men were even chosen by the women! However overall, the indigenous society followed an egalitarian structure. Men had responsibilities to fulfill but so did women. All tasks were distributed equally. Both men and women were appreciated for the work they did, without taking their gender into consideration. Because of this, men didn’t have a higher power over women. People were treated as equals.
For the indigenous society, their way of living seemed completely normal. It wasn’t even something that was spoken about because this is what worked best for them. Why would they discriminate women when they all needed to work together to have an organized society? Unfortunately, this changed quickly upon the arrival of the Europeans. This equality between genders was a shock to them. They were used to a patriarchal society, and they wanted to implement this mindset on anyone who lived differently. They believed that women would have no say or vote in what was decided. For example, marriage wasn’t a commitment to someone you loved. Marriage was a social institution. Women were not seen as equals with men but instead as someone who will obey men and not have a voice.
This European mindset is still seen today. However after lots of hard work, determination, and sacrifice, some aspects have changed over time . It’s still going to a lot to have an equal society, and while that may sound discouraging I believe someday in the far future the European mindset will be completely faded from our culture.