By Monda Halpern

Because males as a rule owned the "family farm," farm women's fiscal welfare depended mostly at the delicate negotiation in their interconnected roles. but the ladies Halpern uncovers have been unusually outspoken approximately their devaluation at the farm and approximately patriarchal traditions and associations that mistreated ladies more often than not. And On That Farm He Had a spouse indicates how Ontario farm better halves and daughters sought to enhance their lives, mainly during the domestic economics move and Women's Institutes. They devoted themselves to non-public improvement, to raising the character and standing in their paintings, and to public participation in social reform designed to aid others in addition to themselves. All of those efforts have been an expression in their social feminism, which persisted in spite of the dramatic adjustments in rural lifestyles at mid-century.

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Extra resources for And on That Farm He Had a Wife: Ontario Farm Women and Feminism, 1900-1970

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35 The predominantly white, Anglo-Protestant wi, however (its composition reflective of the larger farming population in Ontario), was possibly exclusionary in other ways. Margaret Kechnie writes that, in the early years of the organization at least, black women, for instance, did not participate in the wi. 36 The absence of black women from the wi begs consideration of whether the organization made any effort to either exclude or attract black farm women, or whether black farm women deliberately avoided the wi.

I wonder how many would have suffered what we have, had we known our children were not even going to have the necessities of life. … I’m so discouraged. ›10 Conversely, however, doctors in a 1905 Farmer’s Advocate article entitled “Farmers’ Wives and Insanity” testified to the fact that farm women were no more prone to mental collapse than other groups of people, especially given their “idyllic” surroundings. K. 14 In their effort to dispute the myth about the pervasiveness of insanity among farm women, however, these doctors might have overstated their case.

We have a lot of bank barns with warm, comfortable stables … yet a furnace that would keep every room in the house at a livable temperature is a rare luxury in many neighborhoods. Every year sees more well-ventilated, well-lighted stables, but it seems a lot of trouble to cut an extra window in an old house. … More and more we find running water in the barn for cattle, while the water for the house is still pumped and carried from the well. ”34 Women, then, knew that their acquisition of labour-saving devices was dependent upon both the tenuous goodwill and earned capital of men, and upon men’s presumed knowledge of domestic machinery about which they likely knew little.

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