What were the gender roles in the Elizabethan era?


Quick Answer

In the Elizabethan era, men were the dominant gender. Women were given a lesser stature in society, despite the fact that the ruler was female. It was a patriarchal society where the men were head of the household, earned money and took care of the women. The women were considered to be of the weaker sex and were expected to stay at home, run the household and have children.

Continue Reading
What were the gender roles in the Elizabethan era?
Credit: Bob Thomas Photographer's Choice Getty Images

Full Answer

Women were literally expected to be weaker than men. Single women were taken care of by their fathers, brothers and other male relatives. Married women were taken care of by their husbands and the husband's family. Women of higher social standing were allowed to be educated privately by tutors. No women were allowed to go to school. They were expected to stay at home and learn the duties of household maintenance. If women did have jobs, they were allowed to perform household duties for others, such as caring for children, cleaning and cooking.

Women were also allowed to write and paint. Men held all of the professional jobs, including medicine, politics, law and acting. The parts of women in plays were typically played by young men. Men were allowed to inherit and to vote. The only title that a woman could inherit was the crown and only in the event that there was not a suitable male heir.

Learn more about Cultures & Traditions

Related Questions