Women have always contributed to family farming operations; however, their labor was largely positioned as “women’s work” and ignored as contributing to the economics of the farming enterprise. Through examining the stories of farmers’ wives, this essay examined how the gender division of work and the ideology of domesticity silenced women’s contributions to family farming operations. Through oral history interviews and thematic analysis, this research project presents stories from two farmers’ wives (Annie and Belle) from western Illinois. The resultant analysis reveals that Annie and Belle labored on their family farming operations for most of their lives.


farmer’s wife, women’s work, oral history, family farms

Author Bio(s)

Stevie M. Munz (Ph.D., Ohio University) is assistant professor in the Department of Communication at Utah Valley University. Her work appears in Departures, Communication Education, Basic Communication Course Annual, Women & Language, and the Western Journal of Communication. Please direct correspondence to smunz@uvu.edu.

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