When women are allowed to flourish, so does society. Build them up and they will provide the necessary resolve to fix whatever needs fixing. Otherwise, communities suffer when women’s voices and talents are squelched.

Women have always been “uppity” and that’s been a problem for male dominated societies. But it wasn’t always this way. Many parts of the world held women in the highest esteem because they recognized the important roles and talents women fostered. Below is a simple sampling of a few of ways women held high status and beat the odds.


An obvious profession was that of innkeepers. Another, not so obvious, were brew masters, often a side trade of innkeepers, who were the hub of local activities from medical services to pawnbrokers, entertainment to mediation. And of course food and drink. Sprinkled throughout Belgium, Germany, England, and beyond, uppity women gained fame and fortune by finding their life’s purposes and talents. Women helped perfect the use of hops in beers and ales, for instance, as well as cultivated vineyards.

Women also found success in the arts. Needlepoint and tapestry artist, Englishwoman Aedelfleda, became so renowned that the Abbey of Ely awarded her granddaughter an entire village as a site where she and her most talented textile artists could continue their work – a commitment to an artistic tradition begun by this talented Sussex woman.



During the Ming dynasty of China, political unrest left most people vulnerable, even those who lived in monasteries. To keep their numbers from getting seriously decimated, nuns and monks took up martial arts. A feisty figure, Ng Mui, originated her own punchy style of Shaolin temple boxing. Her most outstanding pupil, another nun named Yim Wing Chun, developed her own system of martial arts, called wing-chun, still widely taught today. None other than Bruce Lee, Kung Fu master, was a student in this style. If you are a fan of him, you can see a feminine element to it.

What do you think? Are you an uppity woman or support an uppity woman….have you found your talent, your voice or helped someone find theirs? 

Uppity Women of Medieval Times
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