Why does the assumption that patriarchal and socioeconomic backgrounds

Why
does the assumption that patriarchal and socioeconomic backgrounds have not
received enough attention is still a rising concern? Why is it still unclear of
how women paved their way into nature of authority despite having multiple
studies being completed?1 Such questions have lead to the reason why
people study history, more specifically, to understand the key importance to
women’s history by documenting their struggles, and to identify such issues
fostering the rise of gender history.2 In Christine Walker’s essay,
“Pursuing Her Profits: Women in Jamaica, Atlantic Slavery and a Globalising
Market, 1700-60”, she draws connections between how the free women of African
and European descent relied heavily upon slavery being source for wealth,
labour, and autonomy, as the reason behind an unequal colonial society being
comprised of ideals by both men and women of higher class.3 Walker
addresses her ideas by encompassing the conjoined history of slavery and empire
in an attempt to illustrate slavery as an economic opportunity to women. This
essay sets out to identify the strengths in Walker’s methods and examples of
assessing slavery as a pivotal point in growing the autonomy of women during
the 17th century.

            Walker establishes the connection
between power and gender, and how they have similarities and differences in
Jamaica and Britain. The Jamaican empire consisted of slavery that was crucial
in shaping the economic wealth of the country. Such slaves included free people
of African descent, where women took on masculine roles as a mean of enforcing
social order and upholding racial hierarchies.4 Although such
slavery accounted for the cost of human life in the worst case scenario, such
prioritizing of slavery for family upbringing overpowered the old values and
customs. However, although being able to reap the benefits of such slavery,
owning property and claiming political rights did not exist, as the extent of
female landholding was the only symbolic authority they could get. On the other
hand, women of the Atlantic community gained power that was originated in the
household governed by a male. They would have to be granted permission of their
husbands to be independent, and were not involved in the domestic service
industry and instead engaged in real estate.5 Both the Jamaican and
British economy of women fall under some ideologies of feudalism, in which
women were under the power of men. Nonetheless, such feudalism has progressed
into mercantilism through the action of overseas trade that was women
dominated.

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            In regards to overseas trade, women
of all levels in the Atlantic depended on imported goods and ability to sell
exports to support themselves and their families. The income gained from this
occupation discloses the idea of a race-based occupational hierarchy among
women. Slaves help to facilitate the trade among both countries as British
women would use Jamaican slaves as the primary asset, either bought or
inherited along with land and money.6 This was illustrated by Anna
Hassall and Elizabeth Callender, who were significant to using slavery in order
to expand a globalizing marketplace. Walker suggests that slaveholding helped reiterate
the idea of freedom for female slaves and created a relationship that was beyond
a slave and an owner. In terms of capitalism, the idea of women dominating
slavery and trade have overthrown the ideology of men being able to constitute
production and operation for profit. Walker provides emphasis on the idea of creating
an economic system involving the actions of slavery in the hands of women.

            Many feminist scholars of whom have
documented their findings on enslaved women have revealed only how slavery and
racism gendered
have affected women in unethical ways. On the other hand, Walker encompasses
the positive benefits of slavery and how women’s abilities to pursue
entrepreneurial ventures were deeply intertwined with induced slave ownership.
Throughout her essay, Walker incorporates elements of a growing economy in
which women created their own societal structure for their independent
benefits, thus demonstrating the importance of women’s actions in a
capitalistic world. This ultimately challenges the principles followed in the
17th century that is now adapted into the early modern society. As a result,
such findings have given people insight on how in a colony, the status of free
women came to be more significant than gender in developing a globalized
economy.

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