HISTORICAL BENCHMARKS REGARDING THE LEGAL STATUS OF WOMEN IN THE EUROPEAN PRIVATE LAW
The legal status of women in the European private law was characterized by a thorough and sustainable dissonance between, on the one hand, the public perception or formal regulation, and, on the other hand, the daily reality or the “experienced” law. In this study, using the historical and comparative methods, we will try to examine several significant historical and legal stages in the evolution of the legal status of women in the private law within the European legal space.
This legal status of women in the private law could be defined in different historical ages by reference to several major institutions of this branch of law: the capacity of natural persons, the marriage and its patrimonial consequences, the divorce and successions.
Even if the women’s participation in the public law relationships was marginal in most historical ages, the private law was by no means so adverse, and the feminine participation in such legal relationships was unavoidable. We will find that the woman’s status in the private law represented a permanent search for a balance between her rights and obligations, and the ages of apparent emancipation of the woman’s legal status have been also marked by the correlative loss of some of her rights, and the periods in which the woman received more “protection” were almost inevitably marked by the deterioration of her capacity to act in an autonomous manner.
Considering the ampleness of the private law matters shaping the woman’s legal status in the European legal space, these questions being covered by numerous monographies, our study shall only limit to certain significant benchmarks and to shape an overview of the woman’s evolution in the private law.