Coverture is a long-standing legal practice that holds that no female person has a legal identity.National Women's History Museum
Coverture held that no female person had a legal identity. At birth, a female baby was covered by her father’s identity, and then, when she married, by her husband’s.
Coverture is why women weren’t regularly allowed on juries until the 1960s, and marital rape wasn’t a crime until the 1980s. Today’s women encounter coverture during real estate transactions, as I did, in tax matters, and in a myriad of other situations around employment and housing. Encounters with coverture can be serious, but often they are just puzzling annoyances, one more hoop to jump. Still, the remnants of coverture are holding us back in unsuspected ways.
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