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Women English Renaissance


The Renaissance was a period from 14th to the 17th century in Europe which is defined to be the time of the revival of arts. The renaissance started in Italy which was the hub of this revolution between fourteenth and sixteenth century, between Europe and Eurasia. In this period different art forms, sculptors, paintings, and architecture took a new turn and defined new concepts in the field of art. The period begins in the fourteenth century from the hub of revolution, Italy, and slowly progressed to all parts of Europe till the fifteenth century. The aim of this revolution is to follow the culture that was part of ancient Greek and Roman History. These new concepts of wisdom and art were initially directed towards men and women were excluded from equal involvement in the revolution. It was the time when women were distributed in upper and lower classes of which the upper class was able to take part in the activities but the lower class was extremely suppressed and was meant to giving birth to the children and serve the men as servants. This revolution resulted in the empowerment of women who were suppressed in every field of life until then. This paper is focused on the role of women in the renaissance period and how they handled their families, jobs and daily life during this time, it will also compare the renaissance women with the women of Middle age. The role of women in the renaissance period and their service in the society became the reason for women empowerment which was not possible in middle ages.


Women were initially not an active part of the revolution and their social and economic status became a hindrance to their involvement. Until sixteenth-century women were not an active part of the revolution and their growth in new forms of art was suppressed by the strong power of male dominant society. We will further describe their roles in the period as mothers, working women and as an active part of the society.

Women in Renaissance held a high virtue about their family and their obligations. Women in renaissance were forced to look for the children and household and were suppressed by the males (Herlihy, David, 1995). They still managed to improve their way of life by presenting their daily obligations as part of their obligations. The disease outbreak of the 15th century killed many of the people of the region and there was a need for someone to take the job roles that were necessary at that time, women started participating by performing in these jobs but they were suppressed by men. (Mitchell, Linda, 2012). In order to support families, many women took the jobs as nurses and in Florentine shops.

The noble and lower class women provided their services by taking jobs as wet nurses and in Florentine shops. Although they had their own families and own children, their service in jobs never changed their preference and they actively participated in their household works. Their high virtue in participating society motivated them to work as silk spinners, housemaids and in bakery shops when they knew these jobs should be done by men, but they had to empower themselves and their family so they resisted every movement made against them. (Ward, Jennifer, 2016).

The noble women expected their political rights from the government (Tomas, Natalie, 2017). They demanded their rights as respectable members of the society and asked for the opportunities to be provided in jobs (Chadwick, 1990).They demanded their rights in selecting their life partner which was a dilemma in the renaissance period and women were sold for dowry and to settle personal conflicts (Kirshner, Julius, 2015).

In the Renaissance period, women understood the need for education to keep up with the progressing world and achieve their status in their society. (Wyles, R., & Hall, 2016) the learning methods started developing in the 14th century and were at their height by the end of 15th century. (Charlton, 2013) The education that women were interested in was mainly Greek and Latin literature. By the initiatives taken by humanists, women started learning the art, architecture, and languages. the education opportunities had a difference in class. Most of the noble women received home education from the experts in the field and learned the major subjects popular in English education at that time. (Hexter, Jack H, 1950) The poor class and widowed women, however, are seen struggling for their basic educational rights and their progress was slow because they were not supported by the politics and government of the time (Wainwright, Anna, 2018)

The women in renaissance had a great interest in music and arts. the songs composed by women in the English renaissance described the hardships and struggle that they went through. the initial composition of songs was done in the in St. Clare, Florence by the members of churches. the songs were mostly in the form of chapels and sung by nuns. (Tomas, Natalie, 2017) The women artists of renaissance period developed amazing new techniques in their painting. Their paintings too described the suppression made by men powered community on them. their paintings highlighted the major problems women are facing and their struggle. very few female artists received recognition and appreciation. Sofonisba Anguissola is one of these few artists who attacked the women suppression by the power of her paintbrush. she described the major problems of that time by focusing on “women” as their main subject. (Chin, Lily, 2018)

Women role in renaissance became the reason of women empowerment. In Middle Ages women had no rights and their roles were limited to house premises to their husbands and families. There were concepts from Bible that women a reason to human mistakes and they have no rights to participate in society or the social politics. After the renaissance women stood up against male superiority in the society. They started participating in society jobs, politics and education (Tomas, Natalie, 2017). They asked for respectable positions in society and their efforts were fruitful when the government started giving them job opportunities and places in politics.


The women in renaissance made huge efforts for their equal rights. They were suppressed in all job role of the society and were kept ignorant on purpose. After the renaissance women started to understand their place in the society and started fighting for it. They started taking part in various jobs and learned the value of education. While they fought for the equal rights as men they never forgot their obligations and need in their family, they continued to serve their families and people depending on them and side by side worked in various jobs as servants, nurses and as silk workers.

Works Cited

Beilin, Elaine V. Redeeming Eve: women writers of the English Renaissance. Princeton University Press, 2014.

Chadwick, Whitney, and Whitney Chadwick. Women, art, and society. London: Thames and Hudson, 1990.

Charlton, Kenneth. Education in Renaissance England. Vol. 1. Routledge, 2013.


Herlihy, David. Women, family, and society in medieval Europe: historical essays, 1978-1991. Berghahn Books, 1995.

Hexter, Jack H. “The Education of the Aristocracy in the Renaissance.” The Journal of Modern History 22.1 (1950): 1-20.

Kirshner, Julius. Marriage, dowry, and citizenship in late medieval and Renaissance Italy. Vol. 2. University of Toronto Press, 2015.

Klapisch-Zuber, Christiane. Women, family, and Ritual in Renaissance Italy. University of Chicago Press, 1987.

Mitchell, Linda E., ed. Women in Medieval Western European Culture. Routledge, 2012.

Shuger, Debora K. Sacred rhetoric: The Christian grand style in the English Renaissance. Princeton University Press, 2014.

Tomas, Natalie R. The Medici women: gender and power in Renaissance Florence. Taylor & Francis, 2017.

Tomas, Natalie. “The grand ducal Medici and their archive (1537-1543); women artists in early modern Italy: Careers, fame, and collectors [Book Review].” Parergon 34.2 (2017): 179.

Wainwright, Anna. “Teaching Widowed Women, Community, and Devotion in Quattrocento Florence with Lucrezia Tornabuoni and Antonia Tanini Pulci.” Religions 9.3 (2018): 76.

Ward, Jennifer. Women in medieval Europe: 1200-1500. Routledge, 2016.

Wyles, R., & Hall, E. (Eds.). (2016). Women Classical Scholars: Unsealing the Fountain from the Renaissance to Jacqueline de Romilly. Oxford University Press.



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