Women’s history month (March) is a reminder of the struggles they have endured for equality and fair treatment. Unity is important in any movement, but in the North Country, women were often on opposing sides in the battle for equal rights. The region’s rural nature had much to do with that division, as did the population’s roots: mountain folk, farmers, and miners were primarily immigrants (many via Quebec) from European countries that were overwhelmingly Catholic or Protestant.
Resistance to change was organized by branding the opposition as silly and simultaneously ungodly. For more than a century in the United States, those promoting women’s rights were labeled Bluestockings, a term that has been used both in a complimentary and a pejorative sense.
Its origins are nebulous, but it’s known that in the 1700s, Bluestockings in England were educated women unwilling to settle for being simply an adornment on a man’s arm. They learned languages, engaged in political discussions, and sought to better themselves by gaining certain rights previously enjoyed only by the privileged in society: men.