Life in Medieval Europe was governed by the Pyramid-shaped Feudal System. The operation of this system consisted of the lowest peasants at the base and the highest lords at the top. One good thing about the feudal system was that it was possible for everyone to move up in rank. However, it was much harder to women. (Feudalism Pyramid)
Women’s standing in this pyramid were determined by the male in her life, whether it be a husband, father, or brother. Yet, no matter what their standing may be, women were not seen in a positive light or valued. It takes an immense amount of imagination to consider what women of England’s Middle Ages had to endure. The women of that time lived every day in the present, acknowledging that their life could at any time be filled with fortunes or disasters. The world in which they lived in consisted of a limited source of technology and poor communications. (Abee, 1) (Ward, 1) (Pattie, 1)
Looking at the country as a whole, women had little or no role. However within towns, the jobs a woman could perform were sufficient in assisting to support her husband. Along with her daily job, a woman had many responsibilities when regarding her family. Women traditionally occupied a lower level than men, no matter what their standing may be in the feudal system. Unlike the working women of modern day, many women during the medieval period were expected to stay at home. The slight escape was that given to nobles who were occasionally taught how to defend themselves and their castles, casting them the slightest bit of freedom and power. This power however could backfire. If women had what would be referred to as “to much power,” they were seen as threats and accused of being witches. (The Role of Women and the Queen in Feudalism) (Dyer, 10)
Jacques Devitry along with many other men of that time, referred to women as untrustworthy, deceitful, and stubborn. Yet, instead of focusing on the harsh annotations towards them, they focused on their family and household responsibilities. No matter what their social rank may be, if their husband were to die, it was the responsibility of the woman to bring up the children and run the family farm or business. Women were found to work alongside their husband. They served as assistants helping their husbands with farming his land, marketing, and craftwork. From time to time but not often, women would work outside the household; whatever would benefit their family more. They were ambitious people that did whatever they had to, to provide for the future of their children and the well-being of their family. Family was very important to the middle age women. Childcare and running a household took up most of their time. (Ward, 6) (Hayden, 344) (The Role of Women and the Queen in Feudalism)
Even the law at that time favored the male gender; this may be due to the cause that the law was created by men. By law, a woman was forbidden to hold political office, to serve as a military commander, judge,...