Women in Amish society

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An Amish Woman with her Family
An Amish Woman with her Family

The Amish faith is a highly traditional Christian tradition in the Anabaptist branch of the Reformation. It is practiced almost exclusively in the United States and Canada with large settlements in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana.[1] Because the traditional beliefs of this religion can conflict with the ideals of mainstream culture, the role of Women in Amish society is visibly different from that of women in the surrounding communities.

Education and women's work[edit]

While it is true that Amish women are still expected to do the traditional maternal duties, like child-rearing, it is not unheard of for the modern Amish women to work independently in some way as well. It is not uncommon for Amish women to run their own businesses or go further in their education as girls than their male peers might.[2]


Amish women are expected to wear long cotton dresses made out of plain fabric, it’s not uncommon for a group of Amish women to buy large bulk of a certain color of fabric and make themselves identical dresses to wear. Typically the fabric isn’t patterned and cooler colors like lavender and blue are preferred. Women are also expected to wear bonnets which are meant to express the woman’s submission to God; while adult women in traditional Amish society are expected to wear bonnets that cover their head fully with the strings of the bonnet neatly tied, it is not necessarily expected for young teenage girls whose bonnets may more closely resemble the less modest coverings that Mennonite women use rather than a traditional Amish woman’s.[3]

Romance and marriage[edit]

All romantic relationships are expected to have marriage as the end result. When it comes to the selection of a marital partner, there are no arranged marriages by the parents or other mediators. Young people who choose to be baptized into a certain Amish affiliation (typically the one they grew up in) are expected to marry inside this group.[4] When talking about other aspects of romance, like romantic novels, the Amish typically aren’t actively involved in them. While there is a subgenre of romance novels featuring Amish women, colloquially known as “bonnet rippers,” is based around Amish culture, it is typically written by and for the consumption of those who are not in the Amish faith.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ “Amish Population Change 2010-2015, Summary.” Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College. https://groups.etown.edu/amishstudies/files/2015/08/Population_Change_2010-2015.pdf
  2. ^ "Amish Women, Business Sense: Old Order Women Entrepreneurs in the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Tourist Marketplace." Graybill, Beth E. Order No. 3359377 University of Maryland, College Park, 2009. Ann Arbor: ProQuest. Web. 25 Nov. 2015
  3. ^ "The Riddle of the Amish Culture." Kraybill, Donald B. (2001). The Johns Hopkins University Press.
  4. ^ "The Amish: Practices of Various Groups". Religious tolerance. Retrieved November 25, 2015
  5. ^ "Why Amish Romance Novels Are Hot" Weaver-Zercher, Valerie (6 June 2013) The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 25, Nov, 2015