How Did the Renaissance Affect the Role of Women in Society?

Although it was originally thought that the Renaissance was a period during which women achieved a greater degree of equality with men, the assumption has been challenged by modern writers claiming that even women in the upper classes still held only limited roles in Renaissance society. In spite of the fact that Renaissance women had greater opportunities to acquire a humanist education, they were unable to make use of that education in the areas of commerce and business unless they were doing so in conjunction with their husbands’ enterprises.

During the Renaissance, young women who were born into the upper classes possessed the free time and the means to pursue an education, but were still pressured to either enter a convent or marry and devote themselves to domestic duties. Those women who worked in businesses with their husbands stood a chance of being removed from the family enterprise upon becoming a widow.