In the 17th century the professions (lawyer, doctor) were closed to women. Very often in the countryside the housewife also made the families candles and their soap. A farmer's wife also milked cows, fed animals and grew herbs and vegetables. The 17th century housewife was also supposed to have some knowledge of medicine and be able to treat her family's illnesses. In a big house they had to organize and supervise the servants.
Often when a merchant wrote his will he left his business to his wife - because she would be able to run it.
In the 16th century some upper class women were highly educated.
The Elizabethan family life for women was dominated by the men in the family. They were subservient to the men in the family all of their lives and expected to obey the men in all aspects of their life.
Elizabethan women were expected to marry to increase the wealth and position of the family and then to produce children - preferably male heirs.
A housewife (assisted by her servants if she had any) had to bake her family's bread and brew their beer (it was not safe to drink water).
Some women worked in food preparation such as brewers, bakers or confectioners. In the 17th century most households in the countryside were largely self-sufficient.There really was no difference in this part when it came to the Elizabethans.Generally, they all loved the customs and festivals during Elizabethan period that were held each year.The men were expected to support the family from a whole variety of occupations.And they were expected to improve the positions of all members of the family through influence and patronage from wealthier people and families than their own.When most people think of the holidays they have each year, it always brings a smile to their face.