I’m joining the 0.1%

A week from Saturday, I’ll say a revised version of the Oath of the Freemen of York and henceforth be Mistress Eulalia, Piebakere. 

I’ve written quite a bit on women in York craft guilds, and it occurred to me that I could calculate just how long the odds were for Eulalia to become Mistress. I know what percentage of guild members were women, but what percentage of women became guild members?

Unfortunately, hard demographic data don’t appear to be available for Edward I’s reign. But accepting that this is all a hand-waving estimate, I did find enough to do a napkin calculation. 

I found some census data on Wikipedia (their citation is Hoskens 1984) from which I got a rough population estimate of about 6,700. Medieval cities seem to have had more women than men. Schaus gives an estimate of a sex ratio of 90-95 (~110 women to 100 men) in medieval towns. This would give us about 3,500 women living in York at the same time as Eulalia. 
There are 4 female names recorded in the Register of Freemen at this time. So, just over 0.1% of York’s women were guild members. 

That’s a really tiny bullseye to hit. 

Advertisements

Author: eulalia

I'm a foodie, medievalist, crafter, and gardener living in beautiful Portland, Oregon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s