This study examines the types of restraints and sources of empowerment experienced by working Amish women. The primary focus is on the gendered aspect and the relationship that exists between genders and the work women engage in, their motivations for working, and the ways their work reinforces, or challenges gendered norms. This study is pertinent because within the last three decades many Amish men and women have shifted their livelihoods to be more involved in off farm work that is market-oriented. This shift away from agricultural work has exclusively been studied in terms of the work men perform, but no research has focused on categorizing and interpreting the work women perform. The shift away from agricultural work has affected Amish women’s role in the workplace, their economic activities, and ultimately helped created a new niche for these Amish women within their communities. Data were collected through interviews from five women and one man in the Ohio Holmes County area. The results indicated that Amish women who occupy this working niche strongly still believe in a gender hierarchy, but also frequently find joy and purpose in their work. Their work helps reaffirm women’s status within their communities, and there is likely a parallel between women working and the development of positive attitudes towards women occupying public space. In the discussion chapter, I reflect on the complex relationship between their public and private status in a small-scale community of Biblical literalists.


McConnell, David


Sociology and Anthropology


Social and Cultural Anthropology | Women's Studies


Amish, Women, Agency

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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