I really like this article:
Constantly, we hear that ancient women cannot read and write -the older they are, the more uneducated- and we presume that women did not go out of the kitchen before the 19th century… What kitchen?
I have been always shocked imagining a woman of the Upper Middle Age, for instance, working in her clean cooker from dawn to sunset while her husband was ploughing with a stick (the steam machine was not still invented) and fighting against Vikings (or other friendly invaders)… Yes, it is a shocking idea because it has nonsense.
The reality is that the majority of people (men or women) was illiterate in the Western World before 1914 and children not in school are still in Africa or Asia; the reality is that everybody was working the land and trying to survive from dawn to sunset; the reality is that only few wealthy people (men, women or hermaphrodites) had time to read, to write or to create master pieces.
Why are there so few famous authoresses then? Well, there are some ones, but all of them with bad luck as the majority of their works have mysteriously disappeared.