- Jewish Women as Providers in the Generations Following the Expulsion from Spain
- Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues
- Indiana University Press
- Number 13, Spring 5767/2007
- pp. 49-67
- View Citation
- Additional Information
This article deals with Jewish women's involvement in economic life in the Ottoman Empire following the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. Throughout the sixteenth century, both married and unmarried women were active not only in traditional "feminine" occupations, such as money-lending and real-estate transactions, but also in various other professions and crafts, practiced both in the home and in the markets. This also applies to Sefardi women, who were not accustomed to pursue a livelihood outside their homes. The importance of women as providers, at a time of social and demographic changes, allowed some social and halakhic leniency. Though most of the women were involved in small to medium businesses, some of them—especially in Istanbul—gained power and wealth and were able to help support the Jewish community.