A sumptuary law passed in Florence in 1356 forbade servant women to wear buttons above the elbow. Stella Mary Pearce uses this as a window through which the state of mind of Florence, not only towards buttons and servant girls, but also towards the highly-complicated phenomenon of emergent humanism might be examined.
A crash course introduction to the Renaissance. An amusing introduction to some of the complexities of a fascinating period of history.
In this essay, I hope to analyze the issue of women’s economic status from a different perspective. I will use a variety of sources – guild records, population surveys, and literary evidence – to explore the lives of working women in Renaissance Florence and their relation to paid employment. By looking at this one aspect of the lives of working women in one city, I hope to illuminate broader questions of women’s economic power, although obviously the plight of working class women ought not to be equated with that of women of other classes, and the direction of change in one city does not preclude different developments in other areas of Europe. Furthermore, access to paid employment is not only, or even the most important, determinant of economic power. As scholars continue to work on this subject they will undoubtedly considered class, property rights, marriage relationships, and many other social and economic factors before they can arrive at any broad interpretations of the economic and social status of Renaissance women.
Read the essay here: LINK