Hearts Through History Romance Writers

The Renaissance and Women

by | October 3, 2012 | 2 comments

It has long been held that the Renaissance began in Florence, Italy in the 14th century mostly because of the social and civic uniqueness of the city at that time.  The Renaissance was a cultural movement that saw the rise of literature, science, art, religion, and politics. It was an intellectual transformation that bridged the Middle Ages and Modern era.

Women in the Renaissance were primarily the domestic caretakers of the children and the household. They were subordinate inferiors of men. Only a few wealthy women escaped the tasks of making clothes from scratch, the overall maintenance of the home, and production of food. In the Middle Ages master craftsmen worked out of the family home. The women of the house not only did their womanly chores but also took on responsibilities in the family business. In the 13th century, the family business was removed from the home to larger shops in a different location.  It’s during this time period that crafts became individual male trades thus removing the women in the household from participating while she kept house. However, fathers and husbands who stood to profit from the careers of their daughters and wives were not likely to oppose their participation. However, this was not a very common situation. Historians believe women filled a greater variety of professional roles, had more responsibilities, and had more economic contribution during the Middle Ages rather than the Renaissance.

Like the Middle Ages, women of the Renaissance were denied all political rights and considered legally subject to their husbands. A woman was controlled by her parents throughout her childhood, and then handed directly into the hands of a husband, whom she most likely had not chosen herself, and who would exercise control over her until her death or his. Unmarried women were not emancipated but lived under the subjugation of a male relative or in a convent where she could become a nun, the only profession allowed to women.

The heroine in my book, Knight or Runes, is a 21st century renowned Renaissance scholar. She is an independent take control person. She has a black belt in martial arts and is a survival and rescue expert. When she’s tossed back into 17th century England she’s challenged by the repressive attitudes about women. You’ll have to read the book to see how she fares but how would you cope and survive? What would be your biggest challenge?


  1. Anne Carrole

    I think my biggest challenge would be not speaking my mind or sharing my opinion because that’s a challenge for me even today–lol. Though I love history, as a woman, I’m happy I was born in the 20th century and am living in the 21st. But even today, it seems some people, mostly male, want to take women back to at least the Renaissance, if not the cavemen era!:)

    • Ruth A. Casie

      HI Anne –

      I know what you mean. My heroine has a really tough time being a 17th century woman. In some ways I do agree with you. Some people don’t know we’ve been liberated.

      Thanks for leaving a comment.

      … Ruth



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