Scholars have long discussed Christine de Pizan’s (1365-ca.1430) apology of women. A philosophical analysis of the metaphysics of gender in Christine’s thought is however still lacking. My intention here is to open up this topic for discussion. Christine’s idea of the equality between the sexes is based on her interpretation of Genesis, where she underlines the willingness of God to make women and men. Despite the equal goodness of the sexes, God has bestowed different tasks on women and men according to their gendered inclinations. However, if it becomes necessary, both sexes can assume the inclinations of the other sex to fulfi l their duties and better their own lives. For Christine, gender is thus a manifold category, susceptible to mutation, temporal in perishable gendered bodies, and at the same time divine and eternal in God’s thought. 1

I will claim that in order to understand the key elements in Christine’s defence of women, the relation between Christine’s metaphysical explanation of gender and her personal experience as a woman has to be investigated. Essentially constant and changeable, gender can be employed according to the needs of the particular person. This means that a woman may use masculine practices to better her situation, and a male ruler can apply feminine characteristics in order to better protect and serve his subjects. 2 Christine’s idea of the mutable nature of gender constitutes an entity in which the gender of a person is both the basis and possibility of action. Her understanding of gender is essentially different from the mainstream natural philosophical and medical conceptions of her time. Gender is not only a question for natural philosophy, but essentially a theological question, as it is part of God’s divine plan.