One of the main themes in Little Women is that of gender roles. Consider that during the time in which this novel is set, and the time in which the author, herself, lived, women were not given many rights and liberties in life. The theme of gender equality is offered through the role of Marmee, who must run the home without her husband there to support her. Also, Jo is a professional woman, first writing for the newspaper, and then teaching at a college. Female indepence is explored in depth and offered as a viable way of life.