Christine de Pizan

Christine de Pizan's Contributions to Women's Productive Lives

Christine de Pizan made significant contributions to the idea of how women could lead productive lives. The author depicted the lifestyles of women in the Renaissance era in her autobiographical writings and written advice. The author's mention of certain economic activities that were quite common during the time in question serves as proof for this claim. For instance, in the appointed period, artisans such as embroiders, tapestry makers, goldsmiths, and armorers were highly regarded. The author also discusses farming and the upkeep of manors and estates, which organized the epoch's rural environment. Additionally, her writings depict the actual lives of Renaissance women, portraying the commitment of women to supporting their husbands. Before the mentioned period of time, in the Dark and Middle Ages, women were primarily considered to be best suited for handling household maintenance jobs such as cooking and cleaning. However, the Renaissance caused an awakening of the consciousness admitting that female individuals could also tend to the affairs previously regarded as masculine, when their husbands were away or deceased. Thereby, Christine's works are a profound reflection of wives' parts in the above era.

Christine de Pizan's Literary Journey

After the death of her husband when she was at the age of 25, Christine de Pizan was left to take care of her mother, niece, and younger sister. In a bid to earn money for looking after the family, the woman started writing literature by exploiting the language skills and knowledge that she had gained under her father's oversight. At first, The author wrote love ballads, but when she elicited enough attention in her home city, she began narrating analytical literature with the purpose to defend women's honor by critiquing their portrayal as mere seducers in contemporary writings. However, even though Christine de Pizan was offered help by men of status, the lady preferred to stay in France and write in the French language that she had learned auto-didactically. The writer used her compositions to protect the rights of women in the greatly patriarchal society by resisting the works of Jean de Meun, a popular author who claimed that most of females in the world were seducers. Moreover, she opposed de Meun's vulgarity when he spoke of women in a debate that raged between the two writers in 1401 and 1402. The lady particularly questioned the moral standing of her opponent writer by stating that a gentleman was not supposed to use foul language under any circumstance.

Christine's Advice to Women on Family Matters

Christine de Pizan did not only write ballads and short love poems but also gave pieces of advice to women of that age concerning coping with family issues. From her experience as a widow, she advised women on how to run their manors in the absence of their husbands. She taught ladies to be prudent and watchful and to properly spend their husbands' fortunes. In The Treasure of the City of Ladies: Or The Book of the Three Virtues, the author spread the idea that appropriate managing manors and estates was more profitable than the yield obtained from the land. Through practices such as ensuring that workers on the estate were always busy, de Pizan taught the female persons to survive in the absence of their spouses, something that she had learned from her own experience following the loss of male figures in her life. In writing, she provided recommendations to married women how best they should live in the context of their husbands' craft. Therein, she advised them to get involved in the economic affairs of their men so that they would be equipped to continue running the business if their husbands would die.


Lawson, Sarah. How ladies and young women who live on their manors ought to manage their households and estates. Penguin, 1985.

Lawson, Sarah. Of the wives of artisans and how they ought to conduct themselves. Penguin, 1985.

Zophy, Jonathan. A short history of Renaissance and reformation Europe. Pearson, 1996.

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