Unmarried Women In The 17th Century Essay

1046 Words5 Pages
Many people have heard that women in the seventeenth century had little to no rights, and that would be almost correct. In Amsterdam, women had more rights than most of the women in Europe at the time, which really, was not much. An unmarried woman had more freedoms than their married counterparts, but being unmarried in this century still had downfalls. If an unmarried woman never wed or had children in her lifetime many people considered it to be a waste of her life. An unmarried woman was allowed her own property and businesses but if she was to ever marry, then the husband would assume ownership of it all. Women during this time were told to remain silent, to be seen but not heard. Women were often controlled by their fathers, brothers…show more content…
In 1641, a law stated that women found guilty of adultery were punished by death, men would receive only a whipping for the same crime (Vann 1). It was viewed as a greater harm to society if a woman was to birth an illegitimate child for the action was viewed as a greater moral offense. Girls were required to preserve their virginity until marriage. Afterwards, “it was considered a husband’s duty to ensure his wife’s fidelity by preventing all situations that could awaken her sensuality” (Brabcová 3). Women were not to have sex or have children but as soon as they were married it was expected for them to bear children for the family. During this time “A woman's most important commodity was her virginity,” (Murphy 1). It was important to society that women were virgins before marriage and when married they were to have many children.
When a woman was married she lost her rights to own property and business, their husbands became guardians over them and gained full control of all property, businesses and land they owned before marriage (Vann 1). Before marriage a woman had some control over her own life but as soon as she was married it was expected that the husband would take over and make decisions for
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