The Female Experience of Epidemics in the Early Modern Low Countries

Daniel R. Curtis
2020 Dutch Crossing: Journal of Low Countries Studies  
Recent literature has argued that women in parts of the early modern Low Countries experienced high levels of 'agency' and 'independence' -measured through ages and rates of marriage, participation in economic activities beyond the household, and the physical occupation of collective or public spaces. Epidemic disease outbreaks, however, also help bring into focus a number of female burdens and hardships in the early modern Low Countries, possibly born out of structural inequalities and
more » ... ilities obscured from view in 'normal times', and which is supported by recent demographic research showing heightened adult female mortality compared to male during epidemics. For women, these included expectations of care both inside and outside the familial household, different forms of persecution, and social controls via authorities from above and internal regulation within communities from below -though these were also restrictions that women of course did not always passively accept, and sometimes violently rejected.
doi:10.1080/03096564.2020.1840134 fatcat:pjft5hgsdjey3gjp23yd2ki2oe