Differences in Gender Roles During the Middle Ages

1828 words 8 pages
Women in the Middle Ages

History is marked by specific periods; which illustrates the cultural, economic, religious, and educational setting of the time. One such era is the Middle Ages or Medieval Period. This period that dates from around 850-1400, was defined by the “Italian Renaissance humanist, Francesco Petrarch, who coined the term Middle Ages to describe the period in European history from the end of the Roman Empire until his own time, the 1300s”. There were many changes that occurred during this span in history; such as the development of cities and the marketplace, which allowed some people to obtain financial wealth and move into a new social bracket. This redistribution of the pecking order was a source of distress for
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caring for the children, cooking, and cleaning. The free townswoman had more responsibilities and freedom than most and paved the way for future women to become business professionals.
The fourth class of females is an extension of the third-free townswomen with a lesser skill set. These Medieval working women were a member of the urban lower middle class, and were not considered to be citizens of the city, but immigrants of the countryside. Just like their middle class counterparts, these unskilled workers were able to engage in the open market alongside their husbands while maintaining the typical female role within the household of the Medieval era. These were working women of lesser crafts, street vendors, and servants. Many of these women worked as hucksters or regratresses, which were street vendors who retailed products that had been purchased at wholesale. Also within this group, one would find women who were wet nurses and healers, candle makers, leather finishers, and seamstresses, domestic servants, prostitutes, retailers, brewsters and food preparers. Note, what distinguishes this forth group is that the women rarely had formal training in a workplace, however; there was more equality amongst men and women in this class.
The last group of women that can be found in Middle Ages, also makes up the largest percent, 90% lived in rural areas and thus were involved with land work. The


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