Women's Roles In The Renaissance

1933 Words 8 Pages
Women’s Roles in the Renaissance “While “feminism” has changed over time, it’s different manifestations nonetheless share a common motive: the desire to improve the condition of women” (Ross 3). The Renaissance women were wives, mothers, and daughters. As they lived within these various confines, they maintained very little to no control over their lives. They were relegated to positions that were deemed suitable for their gender. Many of these women longed for something more. They were no longer content with being their husband or father’s property to be moved around in order to benefit themselves. “…her legal identity depended on her relationship to men. That is, she was defined by whom she belonged to as a daughter, sister or wife …show more content…
It is difficult to find out about these women because most recorded evidence only deals with their relationship to men (Brown and McBride 1). This is why it is easier to understand the life of a married woman. Thomas Keuhn points out in Understanding Gender Inequality in Renaissance Florence, “Certainly women were largely confined to the home. They were only occasionally objects of male attention in familial ricordi and then mainly in procreative and domestic guises, as they married, gave birth or died” (58). Although women worked outside of the home, they were employed as domestic servants who would either live with the family they worked for or return to their families nightly. Sixty percent of women were employed as servants. Aristocratic women hired other women to do their domestic work while their childhood education still consisted of learning domestic skills. This was something that set girls apart from boys because housework and child rearing were seen as women’s work (Brown and McBride 27&91). Fifteenth-century women married, birthed children and kept not only their homes in order but often someone else’s as well. There were not many other options beyond wife and …show more content…
As Mary Astell puts it in her book Some Reflections Upon Marriage “But, alas! What poor woman is ever taught that she should have higher design then to get her a husband” (235)? Unless they decided to devote themselves to religious life, there was no place in the societal structure for unmarried. If they remained unmarried and at home, it brought great sadness to their parents (King 28). Another example of a single woman was the widowed woman. If the widow was fortunate enough to be the wife of a landowner, she was now able to control her own lands and its assets if no other man held claim to these properties. Even as a single or widowed woman, they had little to no autonomy. They were seen as more of a burden rather than a contributing member of society (Brown and McBride

Related Documents

Related Topics