How the role of women changes in this period …..
LeadershipEven if there was a woman on the throne of England and Queen Elizabeth I Tudor didn’t have a husband, the Elizabethan society was still patriarchal. It meant that woman was considered more inferior than man and he had the leadership on his family. In fact, women were regarded like “weaker sex” not just in term of phisical strenght but emotionally too. In this portrait there’s a woman in the day of her marriage. Often marriage was celebrated for economic reasons, so a wife and a husband didn’t fall in love.
Common and royal weddingIf a man wanted to chastise his wife, he could do it in this period, because he had the legal right. Howewer, he had to respect her and he had to provide for her maintenance and children support. If he abused his wife he could be prosecuted or prevented from living with her. Marriage was seen like the best condition for men and women, but if a couple wanted to divorce they could ask the annulment of it. In this way, then they could marry again.It’s important to see like King Henry VIII asked legal annulment to marry again just two times, when he married Jane Seymour and Katherine Parr…but he had SIX wives!!!
Links with another culture …Also in Muslim religion woman is subjected at the male authority because she is considered inferior, easily conditioned and weaker psychologically. She can’t testify in a trial because her testimony is considered unreliable and she is obliged to give all her money at his husband who manages it for her “wellness”, as it was written in the Koran. The leadership is of the male.In Jewish religion a husband is obliged to love and to respect his wife better than himself and if he doesn ’t respect this law his wife can ask the divorce, like is written in the Talmud, the best Jewish book of Law.
MotherhoodHaving a chid was considered a great honor to women, and children were considered gifts of God. Even if a father was anxious to have a male not to lose his wealth for female dowry, daughters was good accepted in their families, and they were seen like a precious gift of God. Even if a woman gave birth to a child every two years, babies died from sickness, so families weren ’t very big. Rich women had an expensive gift for their pregnancies. In this portrait there is a noble woman who is pregnant. She wears a prestigious long dress with pearls and she has got a pearl necklace.
Education Noble men were incouraged to give a prestigious education to their daughters because the power was on the hands of a woman, Elizabeth, who was not only intelligent but also highly educated. About others women, they were not allowed to go to university, but they could be educated at home. Women couldn ‘t become lawyer or doctors or politicians, but they worked like nurses or cooks or also for female painters. They could write works of literature, so they translated or they wrote religious book.LINKS… the first woman who became pilot was Amelia Earhart. She died during a storm while she was piloting her plane.
TheatreWomen couldn’t act in the theatre because it was considered dishonorable. For this reason, female roles were done by young actors.Also in the old Greek culture young men acted with masks the female role.
Civil rights Women, during this period, were not allowed to vote. In fact, also rich men could express their personal votes!!! They didn’t inherit their father’s titles because this passed from father to son or brother to brother.However, some women who were daughters of a noble man became heiresses. LINKS ….In England women had the right to vote in 1928, after hard battles that suffragettes had done.
And … what about single women? Marriage was sacred in the Elizabethan period, even if the Queen refused to take a husband and for this reason she was called “The Virgin Queen”.Women who refused to marry could enter in a convents to become nuns or a Mother Superior … but this was possible before Protestant Reformation. With Act of Supremacy in 1534, convents were closed so especially poor women had to marry to eat! Sometimes people suspected women were witches, so for these superstitions many women were burned at the stake.