Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 7931
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Kittell , Ellen E.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Guardianship over Women in Medieval Flanders: A Reappraisal
  • Source: Journal of Social History 31, 4 (Summer 1998): Pages 897 - 930.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Family Flanders Guardians Law Property
  • Award Note:
  • Geographic Area: France;Low Countries
  • Century: 13- 14
  • Primary Evidence:
  • Illustrations:
  • Table:
  • Abstract: Few historians question the assumption that the social inferiority of women was expressed and maintained through the institution of male guardianship over them. The work of David Nicholas, a leading historian of medieval Flanders, is, for example predicated on this supposition. Other historians, such as Philippe Godding, are more cautious; they argue that guardianship of men over women was informal, but common, social practice. This essay contends that such reasoning rests on unsubstantiated preconceptions. Legal records dating from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, while extensively treating guardianship over minor children, include no provision for any similar institution over women. An examination of constraints on bodily integrity; of the possession and disposal of property; of women's position in the family; of employment; and of the participation of women in public reveals, to the contrary, that no formal or informal system of guardianship of men over women exisited in medieval Flanders. [Reproduced by permission of Carnegie Mellon University Press].
  • Author's Affiliation: University of Idaho
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1998.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00224529