Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


Article of the Month

Indexers select an article or essay at the beginning of each month that is outstanding in its line of argument, wealth of significances, and writing style. We particularly look for pieces that will be useful as course readings.

March 2014

Dance of death scene with a mother and child.  Metnitz, Austria, 15th century.
Dance of death scene with a mother and child. Metnitz, Austria, 15th century. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Bardsley, Sandy. "Missing Women: Sex Ratios in England, 1000-1500."
Journal of British Studies 53, 2 (2014): 273-309.

Abstract: This article proposes that late medieval English men may have outnumbered women by a significant margin, perhaps as high as 110 to 115 men for every 100 women. Data from both documentary and archaeological sources suggest that fewer females survived to adulthood and that those who did may have died younger than their husbands and brothers. Historians of medieval England have said little about the possibility of a skewed sex ratio, yet if women were indeed "missing" from the population as a whole in a significant and sustained way, we must reinterpret much of the social, economic, gender, and cultural history of late medieval England. [Reproduced from the journal's page on the Cambridge University Press website: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=JBR ]