‘Renaissance Italy was a patriarchal society in which women played no significant role’
Many people would say that Renaissance Italy was a world in which was dominated by men, who were dominate in the way Government and Politics operated and which women had subservient roles, and to most extent, this was true.
Firstly, women rarely received any education, and those that did were not allowed to attend the men-only universities. At home, young girls were encouraged to learn spinning, sewing and embroidery, as well as how to manage a household. Some girls from wealthy or noble families were taught to read and write by private tutors in their homes.
Secondly, most women during this time married young, for example – the average age of a bride was 18, as revealed by The Tuscan Castato of 1427. But on the other hand around half of adult men in Florence were single which showed they were married much later in their lives. Women, regardless of class, were expected to marry, be good wives to their husbands, give birth to loads of children, raise them and take care of the homei.
Lastly, even if you were a prominent businessman during the Renaissance having numerous daughters often gave rise to commiseration and financial despair. For example – as marriages were a crucial part of family honour, prestige and not to mention political alliances and economical partnership it was essential that a father find a suitable groom and the only way that was access to vast finance for a dowry as it was seen the larger the dowry, the better status of marriage. The more female offspring the father of family had, the more likely the money would run out and no more dowries could be afforded and therefore the daughters had two options – to become nuns or prostitutes but in most cases this was both. From thereon they were just dumped in convents and most of those nuns didn’t care for religious life so standards of religious life seriously fell.