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To what extent and in what ways did women participate in the Renaissance?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    There were quite a number of women scholars during the period of the so-called 'Renaissance. Gaspara Stampa, and Laura Battifera were well-known Italian poets for instance. Lavinia Fontana, Sofanisba Anguissola and Marietta Robusti were well-known portrait painters. Maddelana Casulana was a well-known composer, lutist and singer greatlyhonoured in her own time.

    The 16th century was an era when there were several powerful women rulers, lik eElizabeth I of England, and Catherine de Medici, Queen of France, who acted as regent for two of ther sons and was very influential on French culture. She introduced Italian ballet into France for instance. Mary of Guise acted as regent for her daughter Mary, Queen of Scots.

    Teresa of Avila was an important influence on the Catholic Counter-Reformation, which sought to combat the growing influence of the Protestant churches in europe by reforming the Catholic church from within. She was a great intellectual and scholar and produced several books. There were also female scholars who were influential within the Protestant Reformation, like Queen Elizabeth I of England, who established the Church of England as the official religon, with herself as the supreme governor of the church.

    Although it is true that most women did become wives and mothers, that did not mean that they did not work. The split between home and workplace that we think of as normal nowadays was not usual in pre-industrial society, and most people worked in or near their own homes. Wives would generally be involved in the family business, whatever it might be, and some women were in business on their own account. An example is the succesful printer and publisher Katherina Bischoff Berg Gerlach, of Nuremberg, Germany, who founded a printing and publishing company that lasted over a century.

    There was no question of women being 'allowed' to work (as a comment above suggests). Women were expected to work, not as some kind of privilige, but as a necessity. In an age when most people lived in the country, women were generally in charge of the poultry and the dairy, and would make their own butter and cheese, rear their own chickens, brew their own ale, distill their own perfume, spin wool and flax into thread, and sell their surplus products at market. Housewives were also in many cases traders. They were also expected to be the family doctors, and to have knowledge of a wide range of diseases and be able to make their own home remedies, and even to set broken bones.

    The number of people who were executed as witches was about 40,000 over a three-hundred year period, from 1450-1750. They were not all women (as the comment above seems to suggest), overall about a quarter of them were men.

    Source(s): 'Tudor women' by Alison Plowden 'The Tudor Housewife' by Alison Sim 'Women in the Medieval towns' by Erika Uitz 'Daughters of Time, 2000 Notable Women: Antiquity to 1800' by Vivian Gould
  • 1 decade ago

    Women were expected to be mothers and housewives. Occasionally women were allowed to work outside the home.

    Women monarchs of the Renaissance:

    Catherine Medici, Isabello of Spain, Elizabeth, Isabella Este, Mary I

    Many women were accussed of being witches and were burned at the stake.

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