Intro to Women's Studies 2010

etsu: 2011-2014

Femme Couverte

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The doctrine of femme couverte or covered women is very interesting to me and I enjoyed reading the section Women and the Law. The definition or what the doctrine stands for in husband and wife were one person under law, and she was his sexual property. As a result of the doctrine married women could not seek employment without her husband’s permission, keep her own wages, own property, sue, exercise control over their children, and control their reproductive lives. Rape was considered a norm in these marriages and the wife legally could not pursue charges on her husband. After reading this I was blown away, I had never put much thought into how bad women actually had it back then. I am very grateful that I did not live in the time when all these things were acceptable. Another fact I read was up till the 1990s women had no legal protection against violence. The fact that states had control over women’s reproductive lives is ridiculous. After reading this section and the rest of chapter 11 I can’t imagine what women went through and the restriction they had placed on them.


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