One of the main attributes that
supposedly characterized early Albertans was hard work.
For pioneers, work was supposed to be the only thing standing between
them and their fortunes. Numerous
tasks were involved in breaking the land and developing a farm and home.
For the most part, these tasks were divided along gender lines just as
they were in the “old countries.” Men’s primary work was outside the home
– performing the fieldwork, caring for the larger animals and taking care of
all business matters.
Heritage Trails #45 - House Design: Kitchens Pre 1930
At the turn of the 20th century, the kitchen was viewed as the hub of the
home. However, there were many changes in kitchen design before 1930.
However, despite all of the changes that took place, one theme ran
throughout them all: that the woman's place was in the kitchen.
work was primarily in the home and its immediate surroundings – taking care of
the children, performing all the household chores and tending to the garden and
smaller animals. However, work in Alberta
did not always follow such a neat division.
The demands of pioneer life meant that many women were expected to be a
“Jill of all trades,” performing tasks in and out of the home that
contributed directly to the family’s survival.
As we have seen in the Social Activism section, the nature of women’s
work in Alberta led many to call for greater rights and participation in the
Dodd, Dianne. "Women and Domestic Technology:
Household Drudgery, 'Democratized Consumption,' and Patriarchy." Framing
Our Past. Eds. Sharon Cook, et al. Montreal: McGill University
Gagnon, Anne. " 'Our Parents did not raise us to
be independent:' The Work and Schooling of Young Franco-Albertan Women,
1890-1940." Prairie Forum 1994 19(2): 169-185.
McManus, Sheila. "Gender(ed) Tensions in the
Work and Politics of Alberta Farm Women, 1905-29." Telling Tales.
Eds. Randi Warne and Catherine Cavanaugh. Vancouver: University of British
Columbia Press, 2000.
Millar, Nancy. Once Upon a Wedding.
Calgary: Bayeux Arts, 2000.
Wetherell, Donald and Irene Kmet. Homes in
Alberta: Building, Trends, and Design 1870-1967. Edmonton: University of Alberta