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  • Posted By: jkl24jkl
  • Date Posted: 07/12/2011
  • Category: History
  • Words: 1017
  • Pages: 5
  • Views: 1014
  • Rank: 763

Describe The Role Played By Women Within The Tudor-Stuart Family. Evaluate The Differences In Roles And Responsibilities Throughout The Social Strata

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Describe The Role Played By Women Within The Tudor-Stuart Family. Evaluate The Differences In Roles And Responsibilities Throughout The Social Strata

In Tudor-Stuart England, women played many important roles. These ranged from childcare and housework to being expected to help out with the harvest in busy times. Male and female roles were defined by tradition and practical needs and abilities. Women were supposed to be responsible for the household chores and the care of the children. Husbands were supposed to work in agriculture or commerce to earn money to maintain the family. There were times when the difference between these roles was blurred. Women’s roles in society were limited by the continual cycle of childbirth and rearing and also by their lack of education. Women were seen as ‘the weaker vessel’, inferior and therefore subordinate to men. This was backed by religion, medicine and the law. There were double standards of adultery and divorce was very rare. Women’s legal status was that of a child and they had no political rights.


Women were expected to stay home and look after the children while their husbands went out and worked to earn money to support the family. The average number of children born and christened into a family was 3-4 with 2-3 surviving to adulthood. Babies were breastfed until they were three or four years old, before being weaned onto pap or gruel. Breast feeding proved an effective contraception and women breast fed for so long to avoid falling pregnant again. The lower classes learned from the nobility’s mistakes, with women dying while delivering their 16th or 17th child; the mortality rate was 1 death of a mother per 100 births.


Marriage was not the only option. Judging by wills, around 15-20% chose not to marry and many joined the clergy and became celibate. The median age for marriage was 26-27 which offered plenty of opportunity for courtship. The aristocracy had ...

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