Queen Elizabeth I: A Beacon Of Female Empowerment
Since the dawn of human history, male and female roles appeared to be set in stone. In hunter-gatherer societies, men spent the day prowling for prey, while women child reared and tended to the home. Back then, this made sense, since males’ physical superiority made the perilous task of hunting more effective and less dangerous, while women could focus their energies on other vital roles for the tribe’s survival. This paradigm stood in place for hundreds of years, revealing itself mostly unchanged through numerous cultures and socio-economic systems. (K. Reilly, 24)
When hunting-gathering gave way to nomadic societies, and feudalism began rearing its ugly head, people no longer needed to hunt or scavenge for survival. Many more professions and roles began sprouting, culture, and art flourished. Nonetheless, women were still treated as second class citizens, and many doors were shut close for them. This was particularly egregious in the world of nobility. Even in the absolute highest echelon of society at the time, women were routinely set aside. Female heirs, independently of their firstborn status, were seldom expected to inherit any significant power whatsoever. This dogma was shifted completely come the coronation of Queen Elizabeth I. The year was 1558, and England was shaken by years of political unrest, brought upon by the inefficient government of Elizabeth’s half-siblings. Her reign brought much-needed stability to the land during forty-four uninterrupted years. Also worth noting is that she was never married, despite numerous courtships. (Weir 35)
She stood as a beacon for English hope, managing to fend off the advances of the other warring empires of the time, such as the Spanish and the Habsburgs. The virgin queen, as she was popularly known, also created the English protestant church, which would later evolve into the English church and helped forge a strong national identity that is influential to this day. (Plowden, Butterworth 45)
These are but a few achievements that Elizabeth I accomplished during her extended rule. She not only left the kingdom much better than as it was when she took the reins, but Elizabeth also served as an inspiration for English women and women of the world for generations to come.
Plowden, Alison, and Derek Butterworth. Danger to Elizabeth: the Catholics under Elizabeth I. Sutton Publishing, 2000.
Reilly, Kevin. The West and the World: a Topical History of Civilization. Harper & Row, Publishers, 1980.
Weir, Alison. The Life of Elizabeth I. Paw Prints, 2012.
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