Klondike Rush for Gold Virtual Museum of Canada

Women were a common sight during the Klondike stampede and they joined the stampede for many different reasons. Some were entrepreneurs who saw the opportunity to make a living – as hotel and roadhouse owners, professional dancers or performers, prostitutes, cooks and launderers – while others embarked on the trek with husbands or brothers.
Klondike Kate
Card-mounted portrait of Klondike Kate in her prime. Dedicated and signed: "Mush on and Smile" Klondike Kate
Jan 6th (1956) Faithfully Kate Rockwell Van Duren."

The Klondike stampede permitted women to escape the restrictions placed on them in Victorian society. A woman on the trail to the Klondike could wear men’s clothing (although most did not) and could perform tasks that would be considered “man’s work” in respectable society. The novelty of the situation actually meant that women were, in many cases, more resilient than their male counterparts to the rigors of the journey. While many men turned from the trail in disgust and exhaustion, their female companions toiled on, energized by their newfound freedom.

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