The Change of Status for the Women of Medieval Europe
Throughout the ages, women have been seen as subservient and compliant towards men. The spawning of the medieval age, however, brought about numerous changes for the benefit of the female gender. Women's status in northern and southern Europe improved drastically both privately (through property rights and more input in family matters), and publicly (owing to job advancements and education) throughout Medieval Europe.
With their husbands gone during the Crusades, women now had the duty and rights to maintain their property. For example, in both northern and southern Europe, when the lord of an estate was away, the lady of the house managed the estate by means of supervising the staff, along with making financial and legal decisions. The women were able to hold land, inherit it, sell it, or give it away. This was also a considerable advancement when taking into account the ladies of this era still experienced an inferior legal status. The ease in which the transition between the lord and lady took place implies some sort of partnership in a marriage. This was a substantial advancement compared to prior time periods when marriage was anything but a partnership.
The voice medieval women possessed in their marriages further established the idea of a marriage based on a partnership. For example, in southern Europe, Italian kins-women bought with them traditions of involvement in the Crusades, and would persuade their husbands to join in the cause. The influence of the women was so high; it became the second leading cause for men to join in the Crusades. This persuasion leads us to believe the women of this time had an influential place in the family. This is further proven by the impact the women had on the religious conversions at the time. Women were among the first to join the church in their families, and influenced their spouses to join the church as well2. They were able to affect something as important as the conversion of a person's religious affiliation. This would not have been possible if the women of the time did not have any power over their husbands.
In addition to changes in the family life, a woman's status in public life was also improving. For example, the army was now not only a place for men, but also for women who were now joining rank and helping in the cause. In the west, few medieval armies operated without women to meet the various needs of men. Although they did not participate in military activities, they were part of a support service that included grooms, servants, and cooks2. Although, in England, women were at a disadvantage in a military society, they not only defended their castles in sieges, but actually led armies in battles, as shown by...