WOMEN, persons. In its most enlarged sense, this word signifies all the females of the human species; but in a more restricted sense, it means all such females who have arrived at the age of puberty. Mulieris appellatione etiam virgo viri potens continetur. Dig. 50, 16, 13.
2. Women are either single or married. 1. Single or unmarried women have all the civil rights of men; they may therefore enter into contracts or engagements; sue and be sued; be trustees or guardians, they may be witnesses, and may for that purpose attest all papers; but they are generally, not possessed of any political power; hence they cannot be elected representatives of the people, nor be appointed to the offices of judge, attorney at law, sheriff, constable, or any other office, unless expressly authorized by law; instances occur of their being appointed post-mistresses nor can they vote at any election. Wooddes. Lect. 31; 4 Inst. 5; but see Callis, Sew. 252; 2 Inst 34; 4 Inst. 311, marg.
3. - 2. The existence of a married woman being merged, by a fiction of law, in the being of her husband, she is rendered incapable, during the coverture, of entering into any contract, or of suing or being sued, except she be joined with her husband; and she labors under all the incapacities above mentioned, to which single women are subject. Vide Abortion; Contract; Divorce; Feminine; Foetus; Gender; Incapacity; Man; Marriage; Masculine; Mother; Necessaries; Parties to Actions Parties to Contracts; Pregnancy; Wife.