@FairyGodfeather - eh http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/medieval_women.htm
I’m not going to research the claims, but off the top of my head for the common lands yes, women didn’t actually have many pathways to a prosperous life outside of marriage, servitude or just being lucky enough to be in the right sort of high nobility family.
Of course, that’s just England/Wales. And no it doesn’t prohibit women being strong characters within a story, nor does it prevent them being extremely competent leaders. Realistically though, with reading and writing barred to the majority of women it is extremely unlikely for most of them to ever be anything more than bottom feeders of society (I will quicken to add, that the same label can be applied to the majority of MEN at that time period…)
Personally, if it’s a historical game or if you’re attempting to be realistic for the era of a world based on our history then yes realism deserves to override political correctness. I’m very much anti-pc in the first place, I don’t see the point of including say ethnic minorities in high roles in a white-dominated nation, UNLESS there’s an extremely good reason for it and likewise for females.
However, if the setting is fantasy as opposed to historical (or is historical-fantasy) then its up to the writer. I, myself, don’t really care either way. Female-dominated sci-fi races or fantasy races seem to be very ‘accepted’ as opposed to male-dominated/exploiting cultures - I find this a bit of hypocrisy…
Really, if someone is going to be offended on a pc issue they’re probably one of those wishy-washy types who we should probably strive to offend on a daily basis…
I apologise if that is forthright, but as a disabled person I have to deal with plenty of ‘pc’ issues directed at me or my ‘type’ of disability and it can be quite infuriating having to deal with these people. I find being politically correct, neglects the unique differences between peoples of all kinds and really identifies people by a label rather than as the person. Hence for fiction works or otherwise, really just write the nation, its culture and its people as the story demands and screw anyone who says you should include token rights and respects for the sake of it.