Forging an Iron Woman: On the effects of piracy on gender in the 18th century Caribbean

  • Christine Mae Hernandez


Piracy in Caribbean during the 18th century affected numerous social issues including race, class, and nationality. However, it also effectively introduced ideas of sexual equality three hundred years ahead of its time by embracing a group historically rejected by both the general public and academic scholars alike: women. Female pirates like Anne Bonny and Mary Read thrived alongside their male counterparts, learning to benefit from both sexes by fighting like men in war and escaping execution through pregnancy. Despite the sharp social stratification found on land, life at sea afforded strong men and women the opportunity to escape the lives prescribed to them.

Author Biography

Christine Mae Hernandez
Christine Hernandez is a fourth-year student in the College of Arts & Sciences with a double major in European History and English. She became interested in the topic of female pirates while taking her senior history seminar on the Pirates of the Caribbean. Hernandez is a member of several service organizations including [Word.], Project Safe Peer Educators, and the Nashville Adult Literacy Council and is consistently honored on the Dean’s List. During the next academic year, she plans to pursue an MFA in fiction.
How to Cite
HERNANDEZ, Christine Mae. Forging an Iron Woman: On the effects of piracy on gender in the 18th century Caribbean. Vanderbilt Undergraduate Research Journal, [S.l.], v. 5, july 2009. ISSN 1555-788X. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 20 aug. 2019. doi:
Humanities and Social Sciences


Female pirates