What is the Role of Women in the Amish Community?
In Amish society, the role of women is primarily focused on domestic duties and family responsibilities. Amish women are responsible for cooking, cleaning, and raising children. They also often work on the family farm or in family businesses.
Amish women do not hold positions of authority in the church and are not allowed to be ministers or bishops. However, they do have an important role in the church as caretakers of the family and the community.
Women are expected to dress modestly and wear head coverings as a sign of submission to God and their husbands. They are also expected to adhere to strict codes of behavior and morality.
Despite the limitations placed on their roles in society, Amish women are highly respected and valued for their contributions to the family and the community. They are viewed as essential to the survival of the Amish way of life and the continuation of their traditions.
There are many rules in Amish communities. They are told what they may or may not do, what they may wear or not wear, etc.
But honestly, I have never seen an Amish church rule book. Their rules are not written down on paper. And while the bishop will go over some of the rules at their Ordnung service before communion, there are also many unspoken rules.
But everyone knows what is expected of them, and there seems to be a mutual agreement on what is right or wrong.
Amish Rules for Women
There is no rule that an Amish woman may not seek employment outside of the home. (It could be that some Amish groups have a rule like that, but I've never heard of it.) And many unmarried (or young women that don't have children yet) work away from home.
However, everyone expects a mother to stay at home and take care of the kids, do the housework, and cook for her family. This is her role in the home. And if she wants to be an upstanding member of the community, she will do what is expected of her.
It is very common for married women to help run a family business or sell produce, baked goods, eggs, quilts, etc. to help with the family finances. And it's perfectly okay for her to earn a living as long as she can do it from home.
Dress Rules for Amish Women
Since every church district has its own set of rules, there are differences in the details of how Amish women dress. However, some of the basics are pretty much the same across the board.
Amish women are supposed to wear plain dresses with a cape over the top and an apron over the bottom. The styles vary in different communities. And some are allowed to wear almost any color, while others are only allowed dark colors.
Huge emphasis is placed on dressing modestly and having her body well covered.
The women must part their hair in the middle and put it up into a bun. Then she will wear a covering on her head as a sign of submission to her husband (or father if she is unmarried).
She is not allowed to use makeup or wear jewelry, and should never try to attract attention to herself.
Amish women are supposed to have a meek and quiet spirit, dress modestly, and support their husband.
Submission to the Husband
In Paul's letter to the Ephesians (chapter 5), he addresses the issue of wives submitting to their husbands. And I believe that God has a plan for the home regarding wives and husbands.
But I also believe that this is probably one of the most abused Scriptures in many religious circles. Many men like to run with the part about wives being submissive, but they ignore the part about men loving their wives as Christ loved the church.
So are Amish women oppressed under their husbands? Some, yes! And I will not deny that some Amish men treat their wives like their property.
But, I believe, there are also many good relationships in Amish homes. The wives know what is expected of them, and their husbands love them, so they work in harmony together.
And I don't think that it's necessarily a lot worse in Amish circles than in the rest of our culture. Some people like to abuse their authority, and they make it tough for the people around them.
The only difference is that Amish couples will typically stick together for life. So even if the wife is being abused, she has to put up with it.
Are Amish Women Happy?
Having grown up Amish, I've been around many Amish women. And I would dare to say that the majority of Amish women are fairly happy with their lot in life.
Of course, there are some who are in unhappy marriages. And sadly, there are some who experience abuse in the home.
And some few Amish women would love to spread their wings and fly, maybe even have a career in the business world.
But by far, the greater majority are pretty content being a wife, mother, and keeper of the home.
And most that grow up in that culture just do what's expected of them, and it really doesn't seem odd or restrictive. It's just the way they do things.
They're trying to follow God and do what is right. So if staying at home and supporting their husband is the right thing to do, they will do that without question.
I know there are differences in personalities. Some women like to get out and go to work every day. And they'd rather do that than be stuck at home with their kids all the time.
Personally, I never understood that. I don't mind getting out and working. (I've always been a hard worker and am not one to sit idle or watch shows all the time.)
But I love to be at home with my kids. There's no place I'd rather be. And I'll try to earn a living from home any day of the week rather than go to work.
Maybe it's because I grew up with an Amish mindset (haha), but I'd still rather do all the work around the house and let my husband get out and earn our living. And my husband likes it that way because then he can come home from work and relax.
I'm certainly not saying that it's wrong for a woman to have a career, and put her child into daycare. And there are times when there's not really a choice, and that has to be done. But I also still believe that there are benefits to a mother staying at home and being there for the kids.
Life of an Amish Woman
Amish women are known for their traditional dress, devout faith, hard work ethic, and emphasis on family and community values. They live a life of simplicity and humility, placing others' needs above their own.
Although they are human, and give and give of themselves every day, you will rarely hear them complain.
They take care of their own, whether it's their kids, their husband, or their elderly parents. And their strong ties to their families and communities are essential to their way of life.
(I will interject here - We all know that nobody is perfect. And I am sure that not all Amish women treat their husbands well either. I am sure that some of them do their fair share of complaining as well. They are human after all. But I believe that I am speaking here of the majority, and it's what I have personally witnessed.)
My mother was a perfect example of an Amish woman who gave sacrificially for her family every day. And I shared more about her in a few other posts. Life was not easy for her. My dad had anger issues, and he didn't always treat her with the respect she deserved.
There were times I hated my dad for the way he treated her. But she always honored him. She never spoke negatively about him or even portrayed a bad attitude toward him.
And sometimes I look back and wonder how she could do it, how could she even love him? But she was a woman of faith, and I know that God gave her Grace for every day.