Gender Code

While women worked regularly in the Colonies, it was considered a sign of poverty in Soma society if the females in the household sought paid employment. The woman’s tax advantage ensured that a significant amount of funds would be cycled through them, ostensibly as income. But once they were married this tax break window would close. So, in wealthy families, curiously, marriage was not overly encouraged, and there were many cases of women in relationships not formalised by marriage. Often adrift in this economic trap their position became opaque. A marriage was also only consummated by the birth of a healthy child. Failure to deliver a child brought much shame to a young bride, and a successful birth, particularly of a son, was met with a formal ceremony grander than the marriage itself. Failure to produce an heir could see a bride returned to her father’s house, with no compensation. As damaged goods, a second marriage was often difficult to secure.