Anglo Saxon Women

Term Paper I wrote for my Islamic Empires History Class

Anglo Saxon Women


Women still struggle with rights as individuals in the corporate world. Women are given more rights now in society than they had before. They are treated with respect and more as equal to men, and are given more opportunities as men. But for centuries women of all ethnicity and cultures have had to struggle with rights as women. Some women being forced into marriages, they didn’t have any political rights. No rights to what they could own, or whether they could work or not. Women have even been disrespected and abused. Women were looked down upon as slaves, and of no importance.

Issues with women rights records back to the Anglo-Saxon period (5th century for 307-1066). Women in the Anglo Saxon period were also forced to have arranged marriages but of abuse, and male dominance. They had no say or rights in much of anything, forced to be dependent of their husband positions. Dependency on their husband status gave the Anglo Saxon women uneasy lives. Marriages meant a great deal to them, because it had impact on their status and economic activity. Some women were even forced to be peace-weavers.Peace-weaverswere women that have to marry a family’s enemy to make a truce between a rivalry tribe. An example of a peace-weaver was from a poem named “The Wife’s Lament” this poem described how a women was separated from her husband against her will. She feels very unhappy and lonely, that her husband commits murder and abandons her. During the Anglo Saxon Period women didn’t marry for love, but either to be peace-weavers that united families that hated each other.

Anglo Saxon women we basically considered slaves to their husbands, whether of high class or not. Women were looked upon to do house work, working in the fields, child supervision, and being there when their husbands called. The women in higher class had less work to do as others and they also had supervision with the children. Though women whose husbands were of higher class the women still didn’t have any rights.

Anglo Saxon women were also disrespected and treated as sexual objects by men. In Anglo Saxon England there was a law called wergild which basically was where men could pay to have sex with a women. The amount a man paid for a woman was classified by class rank. What was so cruel about this law was that any man could rape a slave, or have sexual intercourse with a Kings property. Men were untouchable as long as they paid, and the King became richer, while abuse was accepted.

On the other hand the Kings Wife, and women married to husbands of higher positions were respected and played some important roles. When their husbands were away they got to look after their husband’s property, and make some decisions. Anglo Saxon women of higher rank were even given gifts from their husbands of land that they could keep or sell.

In the Anglo Saxon period women weren’t mentioned much because they didn’t have much of a voice. The Anglo Saxon woman just represents how long women have had to struggle with little to no rights at all. It clearly shows that our world has definitely progressed. How women have stood of for their rights and look what they have accomplished.


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