Since humans began to roam this earth, the battle of the sexes has raged. History has proven to us that society has traditionally been dominated by males. The suffragette movement of the 1800s sparked a worldwide campaign for equal rights for women. Before this, women were treated as second class citizens, as they were not permitted to hold the same positions of power as men. This meant that women were held at the mercy of the landowning men, who held the right to vote. It is understandable that historians' views on history can be coloured by this information. Many historians, such as Raymond Gordan and Alan Anderson perceive the witchcraft trials in Europe as being part of a wider misogynist regime. This theory is understandable of course. When looking at the statistics from the time, it was reported the 80 percent of the victims accused of being agents of witchcraft were woman. Anne Llewellyn Barstow commented '80 percent of the accused and 85 percent of those executed were female. Men were associated with witchcraft chiefly because they were related to women who were already suspect or because they had committed other crimes. And yet, although men "qualified," women were overwhelmingly singled out. The extent of the attack on women becomes clear when we recall that 92 percent of the accused in the English county of Essex were women, and that all but two of the female inhabitants of Langendorf in the Rhineland were arrested'. To completely disregard misogyny as being a factor in the witch trials of Europe would be a great disservice to the women who died at the hands of the mob. Of course gender was a factor in some of the cases. However, to accredit the entire episode to a misogynistic regime would reduce the explanation to a hollow, shallow version of itself. This academic essay will shun the idea that misogyny was completely to blame for the events that unfolded during the witch trials in Europe. Instead, it will delve in to the major reasons women accounted for eighty percent of the victims, and how the witchcraft phenomenon grew from variables such as religious turbulence, the isolated geographical location of certain communities, and the expansion of the nation-state.

To say the one's gender automatically qualified someone to be suspected of being an agent of witchcraft is preposterous. However, for this essay to come to that conclusion, it must find a reasonable explanation for the large volume of woman persecuted in the trials. The truth of the matter lies in the study of the population demographic of the sixteenth century. Research has shown that the marriage pattern of that time, in conjunction with the population trends of that period, resulted in elevated numbers of elderly widowed woman, and single young girls. Stewart Clarke commented
'Already seen as aberations in societys that accepted the need for patriarchal controle over domestic life, their new neumeriousness made them that much more threatening'

At the time, there were many factors at play when a marriage was arranged. Assets were offered and exchanged to make a match. Marriages were arranged to build on family assets and to increase the power and wealth associated with the family name. Because of this, many people were unable to marry in their youth due to the shortage of land and its
associated resources. The ongoing continental wars during such as the thirty years war , which lasted from 1618-1648, saw an increased demand for men to fight on the battlefields of Europe. Inevitably, substantial numbers of men died while in battle, leaving a shortage of young eligible bachelors. This greatly affected the position of the woman in society, as she was now left either a spinster or widow. It also caused the male population to drastically decrease in size. This gave birth to a new social group, and so-called ‘SpinsterCommunities' were formed.

The modern historian advocates that, the economic state of certain areas equated directly to the number of witchcraft accusations, in that same area. During the seventeenth century, the change in climatic conditions to a colder temperature resulted in more frequent crop failure. Emily Oster conducted a study on how the economy correlated to witchcraft accusations, she commented 'The most active period of the witchcraft trials coincides