Life in the 1860s was close to the Industrial Revolution. Life was often hard but there were many things that were also beneficial, such as improved health care (the invention of the syringe greatly improved the quality of the health care available at the time).
The work of a woman seems to remain somewhat similar to previous decades. They remained mostly housewives and worked predominantly in the home cooking, making clothing, cleaning, etc. Some women, however, sought to have similar or the same jobs as men. Some women even attempted, some successfully, to join the military in the Civil War.