Women in the Middle Ages (early 1400s-late 1500s)
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In every part of the world, women have been considered subordinate to men and have not had as many rights as men. They were always expected to do thing such as taking care of the family, satisfying their husband’ every need, and not working outside of their houses. During the industrialization era, when jobs became more common and factories needed workers, women started working as well. Thus, as societies became more urbanized, the general role of women steadily improved from early 1400 to the late 1500 in England and Saudi Arabia.
In Saudi Arabia and England, there were certain things that women were not expected to do before the 15th century. This includes enfranchisement, the right to have jobs outside their houses, and the right to political arguments. They also were not allowed to write or get education. In England, however, when the coming of industrialization and factories and open markets came into existence and employees were needed to work in those factories, women started gaining the right to have jobs and could work with men in the same area. In Saudi Arabia, women also gained the right to have jobs, but years latter than the English women, and were not given permission by the males in their households to work with men.
The main thing that distinguished English women from Arabian ones was their religion. Arabian women were Muslims, whereas English were Christians. In Islam, women are not to work with men or get education in the same schools as men, whereas Christianity permitted women to do either. Some Arabian men did not allowed their women to go to school at all. Thus, by having women getting a decent education in England and working in factories wherever they wanted, women in England gained more rights and the experience of having more freedom and liberty than those in Saudi Arabia.
In Saudi Arabia, women were expected to stay home and take care of the family while the husbands went to work. This is true for English women before the 15th century, while the practice in Arabia remains until now. In addition, the high caste women in both regions had to bear strong, healthy sons for their husbands, so that the sons could become heirs to their fathers. Women in lower class castes, in both England and Saudi Arabia, had a little more rights than those in upper class, even though lower class women were subject to upper class ones. Women in the upper classes could not go outside of their house or have jobs; they also had servants do everything for them and get them what they needed. But the lower class women were poor and didn’t have any servants. Thus, they had to go to the market themselves and get the food or clothes or anything else they needed. So the poor women in both Saudi Arabia and in England had the right to go out of their house and get jobs whereas the rich women didn’t.
Women in Muslim Saudi Arabia have always been impelled to wear veils and cover their entire body every time they leave their house. English women have never had to wear veils but they did have to cover their entire body while leaving the house. During the 1500s, women in England stopped wearing long dresses while going out, while in Saudi Arabia they still had to cover up themselves from head to toe; they were impelled to do so by Islam. Arabian women were also more modest than their English sisters because Islam highlights that women be modest, especially in the presence of men. And since Islam emphasizes that women stay virgin till marriage, Arabian men were most likely to marry virgin women; in England, during and after industrialization, women’s virginity wasn’t anything too special anymore as it had been before industrialization. In both these regions, women could not act or perform, speak publicly, have the right to oppose or favor the government, or write books.
In England, few men started standing up for women’s rights, demanding they have the right to vote, and write and speak freely. But in Saudi Arabia, men never did stand up for women’s rights. In fact, Muslim men stressed the fact that women were not allowed to speak or write freely according to Islam. And in both these regions, education became very important during the sixteenth century as industries became more common and they needed educated and literate people to hold the jobs; as a result, new doors of opportunities were open to women as they got education and the right to have a number of jobs. Also, in England and Saudi Arabia during the 1400 to 1500, women were monogamists; some women were allowed to remarry if they became widows while others were not. But by the end of the 1500, women became more open and were allowed to remarry in England and Arab.
In conclusion, women in Saudi Arabia and England had very important roles to play in their society; however, their rights were limited in both regions. They had less rights and privileges than men did. But as time went by, they started working like men because more workers were needed to take the jobs in the industries. However, Arabian women were not free like English women do whatever they wanted to do, though some Arab women still got education and had the right to have jobs. And as these English and Arab women began to work, they struggled for more rights, such as the right to vote. Thus, slowly and gradually, their rights started improving during the 16th century and onwards.