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Unequal in Charity? Women and Hospitals in Medieval Catalonia

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This study asks whether charity in Catalonia had, in fact, any basis in gender, how treatment here compared with what historians have found in Italy, and what all of this says about the role that gender played within Catalan society. Late medieval Catalan charities assisted both men and women, but in different ways. Orphans, the sick, and the homeless of both genders received shelter and care, but, to some degree, males in these categories received more benefits than females. Other charity, such as assistance to poor, single women and to prostitutes, targeted females specifically and had no male counterpart. Gender considerations in the calculation of Catalan authorities seem to reflect an interest in promoting and preserving families and a social consciousness that privileged the so-called deserving poor over their marginalized sisters and brothers.

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