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Though medieval women were divided by social class, religion, marital status, and other factors, they were all subject to an overarching patriarchal structure. In her new book Women’s Roles in the Middle Ages (Greenwood Press, 2007), assistant professor of history Sandy Bardsley outlines the ways in which women participated in religion, work, family, law, culture, politics and public life. She also describes how exceptional women could sometimes transcend the limitations imposed upon them. “The fact that some women were able to break these rules did not, however, mean that all women were able to do so,“ she writes.