Donna nel Medioevo
Nel Medioevo la manodopera era prevalentemente femminile.

Schiave, serve e donne libere che, non avendo trovato altre possibilità di impiego, andavano a lavorare nelle famiglie benestanti.

Probabilmente alle schiave venivano affidati i compiti più pesanti.

Tuttavia i lavori domestici, procurare legna e fuoco, badare ai bambini, accompagnare fuori la padrona erano ripartiti equamente tra serve e schiave anche se il trattamento economico era diverso.

Le assunzioni, a differenza di alcuni altri lavori, erano solo accordi orali.

Tutto ciò rendeva l’occupazione domestica assolutamente precaria e sottoposta ai voleri dei padroni che in qualsiasi momento potevano licenziare senza motivo e senza preavviso le proprio serve.

Il salario, assai scarso, era diviso in due parti.

Una in denaro e l’altra in beni di uso comune: abiti, scarpe, vitto e alloggio, che nella maggior parte dei casi consisteva in un pagliericcio e nei resti dei pasti quotidiani.

Il pagamento era minimo. Per esempio verso la fine del Duecento, un paio di scarpe costava ad una serva circa un mese e mezzo di lavoro.

Oltretutto i padroni non pagavano quasi mai regolarmente, in genere davano solo acconti, versando il saldo dopo molti anni di lavoro o addirittura all’atto del licenziamento.

Una vita di dura fatica tra soprusi ed umiliazioni veniva condivisa tra donne di diversa provenienza.

Alcune arrivavano dalla campagna, altre dalle città, alcune avevano legami di sangue con la famiglia. Infatti, talvolta, le figlie illegittime frutto di rapporti tra il padrona e la serva, rimanevano nella casa del padre come domestiche. Nelle famiglie benestanti si trovavano non solo donne adulte, ma anche bambine mandate a servizio per poter avere una modesta dote o soltanto per avere una bocca in meno da sfamare.

Affidate al padrone, potevano lasciare la casa soltanto al momento del matrimonio, momento in cui avrebbero ricevuto il compenso di anni di lavoro. Per vincere la diffidenza dei padroni, che consideravano generalmente le serve ladre e scostumate, le donne dovevano dimostrarsi forti, attenti alla cura della propria persona, oneste e serie. Nonostante la richiesta di serietà, sovente, dovevano sottostare ai desideri dei padroni, dei loro figli e spesso anche degli amici.

Ovviamente le conseguenze di quelle relazioni finivano per ricadere solo sulla donna; cacciata di casa e privata del sostentamento era costretta a lasciare il figlio nell’ospedale cittadino per l’infanzia abbandonata o nella casa del padrone.

La donna nell’Antico Egitto

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