Women in Medieval London
As London struggled to recover from the ravages of the Black Death, the economy trudged on and the demand for labor skyrocketed. In light of this tragedy, women were now more than ever able to take on apprenticeships and learn skills, operate businesses, and contribute to the bustling city of London more substantially. As lovely as it is to view the woman’s world through slightly more rose-colored glasses, it also must be noted that opportunities for women were limited greatly by the circumstances of their birth and possibly their marriage prospects. Though women had an array of new chances to succeed and prosper, women were not immune to failure and conflict. It is in these instances that women emerge in the records. Women were also better acquainted with the fear of untimely death than men because of the dangers of childbirth. Destitution and disaster notwithstanding, in Medieval London, single, married, and widowed women had the opportunity to follow a variety of paths prescribed by their social status – from the holy to the whorish – and contributed to the social, legal, and economic fabric of the city in ways that, though often not documented directly, were crucial to its growth and development. Playing this game, you will discover the surprising variety of opportunities available to women in this time period and the harsh realities of the time.