During this time many women were changing from avowed Catholics to the new religion spreading rapidly across Europe. The new religion was that of the newly named Protestants.
The topic of the reformation is an important issue to raise among women today. Before the Reformation, women had little or no participation in the Catholic Church. Priests did not discuss religious matters with a mere woman. Wealthy women could attend Mass and church services regularly, but middle class and poor women were not as fortunate. The middle class and poorer women normally had the services of the Church when married or after birth. Most of the time middle class or poorer women only attended Mass and confession once a year around the Yule time. Many Catholic women were also illiterate. The need to read did not become important to women until the Bible was translated from Latin into the local language by the Protestants.
On the other hand, Protestant women attended church services regularly, whether wealthy, middle class or poor. Women could speak about religious with their Protestant pastors. In fact, women could speak on religious matters like an equal with men. Since the backbone of the Protestant movement was the right to translate and read the Bible personally, literacy rose among women after becoming Protestants. Women had a little more freedom through becoming Protestants than before the beginning of the Reformation.
To prove her conclusions of the time, Natalie Davis used various sources to prove her point. She used the traditional books. Some of the books used were The Heresy or the Free Spirit in the Later Middle Ages by Robert E. Lerner, The Appeal of Calvinism by Nancy Roelker, Power to Dissolve by John T. Noonan, Jr. and Le marriage li Geneve vers 1600 by R. Stauffenegger. Ms. Davis also used journals such as “The Double Standard,” Journal of the History of Ideas 2.0.