The Handmaid's Tale Wiki
The Handmaid's Tale Wiki

The Republic of Gilead does not hold general equality before the law; the legal position of individuals is based on their affiliation to a certain social group called "class": While members of different classes can be sentenced variably for identical "crimes" (as seen e.g. in Ofglen's case), the individual legal position within one social class appears uniform. In that spirit, the Gileadean class system "replaces" parts of the suspended constitution of the United States.

This being said, it is important to distinguish social classes from other social groups (like "Econopeople") which don't necessarily come around with a common legal situation of its affiliates.

Specifics of Female Classes[edit | edit source]

See also: Legal Specifics of Female Classes

Single women in Gilead must fear to be classed as "Unwomen", i.e. stripped of any human rights[1]; in particular they can be detained arbitrarily to be executed or obliged to force labor without trial[2][3], although prospective Unwomen are consistently offered to be married off or to serve as Martha, Handmaid, or Jezebel. Unlike married women,[4] the latter classes still lack the right to a fair trial.[5]

  1. V Van
  2. Episode 3.3, Useful
  3. VII Stadium
  4. e.g. Econowife Eden in Episode 2.12, "Postpartum"
  5. Episode 1.3, Late

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