The Roles of Women during the Reformation
Submitted by:Aisha Hill
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I chose to discuss women of the reformation. I do not know much on this subject as of yet. I just feel like whenever or wherever women are involved, it is a powerful topic. I find women to be one of the most strong, brave, and heroic examples in life. They seem to always strive towards advancement. I have decided to deal more with the roles of the women during the Reformation. This seems quite interesting, being that they had limitations and specific roles to play as women.

The women during the reformation period were treated unequally during the reformation period. They had to be "maids", serving their husbands and children, and they had little to, no say so over what they could or could not do. Divorce was a delusion that could not come true. Women were basically unequally yoked. I think this was because women were more dependant on the men finacially. That put them in a place of submission. Living biblically was another big thing during the Reformation period, which speaks about women being submissive to their husbands. This had an influence on their lifestyle as well. This is quite different from today. Women are more independent and will not tolerate rules and duties given by a man.
Sources Fissell, Mary E. The Politics of Reproduction in the English Reformation, Representaions, No. 87 (Summer 2004), pp. 43-81University of California Press, Lowell The Education of Women in the Reformation History of Education Quarterly Vol. 19, No. 1, Women's Influence onEducation (Spring 1979), pp 93-116 History of Education Society, Peter Breaking the Silence :Women, Censorship, and the Reformation The Sixteenth Century Journal Vol. 27, No. 1(Spring, 1996), pp. 97-109
Additional Sources
Weisner, Mary E. Beyond Women and the Family: Towards a Gender Analysis of the Reformation The Sixteenth CenturyJournal Vol.18, No. 3 (Autumn, 1987) pp. 311-321

Breaking the Silence article analysis

The Education of Women in the Reformation article analysis

Focus: The article points to the many issues that involved education in the Reformation. The importance of education for women and men has emerged.

Expanding Universal Education
Luther’s perspective
Women’s education
Women were initially not thought of as being educated or that they should be educated. This lead to the expansion of women’s education in other cities and countries.
Luther thought that school should be for girls and boys. He felt that the girls, as well as, boys should be gaining knowledge in not only religion, but in other areas, such as, history, mathematics, music, modern and classical languages and more.
Education of Girls v. Boys
Later in Germany, school became an expectancy for both girls and boys with the push of the Wiitenberg Reformers.
Luther required all cities of Germany to provide the best possible schools for boys and girls. The boys were trained for public service and the girls were trained to be housekeepers, servants, and mothers.

Implications: The article suggests that the 16th century was when much of the changes and progresses in gender roles in education, and equalities were made. The reformers of the 16th century made some of the best progressions towards gender equality.

Women during the Reformation were over powered and weak. They were less independent than women of today. They were more dependant upon men and took rules and commands as they were given. The women were more tolerable of demands and regulations. The women did not have the right to education or laboring. They also had to hold in their feeling and deep thoughts. This would be too much to handle today. They had a voice, they had an opinion, however they did not share it publicly. There was a great sense of meekness and obedience.
People during the Reformation era lived more on the basis of the Bible. The women were given social constraints, they had personal restraints, and religious restraints. An example of a social constraint is the conventional, guarded gender role. The women were afraid of being ridiculed, and this inflicted a personal constraint. Some of the interpretations made from the Bible were wrong or taken a little or a lot over board. An example of this is the religious restraint that women had on speaking publicly. They were seen as the daughters of the sinful Eve. (Matheson, 1996) The Bible does speak on Adam and Eve and how Eve convinced Adam to eat of the forbidden fruit. That does make one imply that women give bad advice and cannot be trusted to make good decisions. This scripture should be seen more as a historical. Not used as a judgmental passage towards “all” women. What Eve did does not speak for the entire female race, and as humans we are entitled to making mistakes. Not only women make mistakes, men are often a source of wrong doings and wrong findings as well.
Religion can and often is taken out of context. Much of the readings in the Bible are used as a source and guide to how we should live. The people of the Reformation were very strong believers of the Bible and they closely followed the regulations of their religion. This is what put women in the predicament, that is a bad predicament as of today. The way that women were referred to as house wives, that had children, prepared meals, washed clothes, maintained the cleanliness of the home, and much more was a result of the misinterpretations of the Bible. Women not being allowed to be in pulpits or speak publicly is the dumbest thing they could have done. Today, there are just as many, if not more, women involved in politics and head positions that lead the world today. Women are top scholars and more of them are educated than men. Those trends from the Reformation era would not work in today’s society. Women are more advanced, and aware of what they are capable of and entitled to. Women are just as equal and have the same opportunities that a man has.
Argula von Grumbach was one of the brave women during the sixteenth century that went public with their writings. She had a printer/publisher, Friedrich Peypus, whom was in close knit with the reformers. He printed her first two editions to the university. This was sort of like a favor to her and to women. Even though her career was brief, she got her point across, and because of doing so, she was able to speak in the pulpit, the lectern, and rostrum(Matheson 1996, pp.99). Today women are forbidden from the pulpit in some areas, but for the most part this is not so. Women can be ministers and other religious leaders and speak publicly in the sanctuary or pulpit. These limitations are placed on some females for some reason about the Bible being against female ministers, pastors, bishops, and so on. The evidence is yet to be found and it is not substantial in the eyes of many churches. Women should be allowed to express their thoughts and knowledge, regardless of their sex. This is another example of discrimination, and it is still a touchy subject today.
Could anyone imagine telling a woman today, “You cannot vote, you cannot work, you cannot speak, clean the house, feed the children, wash the clothes, sit home!”. That would probably be the end of the world. Women today are “feisty” and stubborn, as it is. under no circumstances, can women today endure and tolerate what those women went through and tolerated.
During the Reformation, women were in conjugal families, where there was the husband, wife, and children. This is not the case today. Many women are a part of matrilocal families, which consisted of the mother and her children. Divorce is also more into play. Women of the Reformation were not likely to get divorces. Separation was not a option either. Therefore, the problems that they had in their marriage, whether it was abuse, financial, or other problems, they had to stick it out. This is not the case today. Marital problems today, leads to divorce court quickly. There are even more sources available to avoid divorce, such as counseling, but the divorce rates are steadily rising.
The education parity for women did not begin until the sixteenth century, during the Reformation, in Germany.
“Wurttemberg inaugurated compulsory school attendance for all boys ad girls in 1649. But this was not the first occurrence of compulsory attendance for Germany. Already in 1642, Duke Earnest the Devout of Saxe-Gotha had instructed compulsory education for all boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 12, and it appears that Hessen-Dermstadt may have been still earlier. There was also a strong emphasis upon female education. Compulsory school attendance did not come to France, England, and much of the United States until more than 200 years later. “ (Green, 1979)
This is fascinating. Today, school is an obligation for all children, from the age of 5 to 18. This is one of the best changes to occur. Education is the main source to success. Being denied the right to get an education just because of gender or race for that matter, is and could be devastating. The people during the Reformation, as I stated earlier, were over the top. Education should have been seen as a positive aspect of life, and it should have been available and compulsory for girls and boys. What is wrong with becoming more knowledgeable and why is it not a necessity? It seems as if, the leaders at that time had their priorities in the wrong order. More concerned with telling their wives what they could or could not do, instead of seeing a future of success and knowledge for their daughters. This differs from today in several. Parents are more supportive and forceful towards their children, not only getting an high school education, but furthering their education to higher levels. Education has become a very important and necessary part of living and being able to provide. Education is one of the effectors of women being more independent today. Because there are more women willing to further their education and to be more successful, than there are men, women make the most money and achieve the higher paying jobs/careers. There is beginning to be a trend of women making more than the men, and even providing for the families. The mention of women providing for men in the days of the Reformation would be like a forbidden statement.
Women today are more interactive in society. We have several women in leadership positions, we even had women to run for presidency over the United States. This would never had been the case in the sixteenth century, during the Reformations. Women are more strong-minded and determined today than they were so ages ago. This is a positive advancement for women from the way they were deprived and controlled. Women today should not complain about not having the freedom or enough sources to live. It is hard to understand why some women choose to live in the “system”, with the dependency on the “system”. If they are able physically and mentally to be cognitive, they should definitely take that as an advantage and a privilege. Yes, women deserve the freedom and equality that they have now, but it was not always available. Women such as, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Carrie Lane Chapman Catt, and others fought for women’s rights. Women today should be thankful that this is not an issue in today’s society. Women still suffer some discrimination and some unfairness or inequality, but it not, by far, anything like what the women went through during those days of suffrage.
Women during the Reformation period were treated unequally. They had to be wives and mothers, and they had no other choice. Divorce was not an option, neither was separation. The roles have changed. Women are the “bread winners” of today. They are more successful and dependant . The progression was a great one, and it is still in effect today. The possibility of this tremendous change reversing is unattainable.