Women in Fantasy Wargaming
Women have it rough in the 11th century. They are only valued as wives, mothers, and cheap labor. In general, they occupy a very low status in society — they are barred in many places from fighting, education, religious vocation, and many professions. Remember, though, that PCs are not ordinary people, and female PCs are not ordinary women. Still, I would not advise a male player to cross gender lines to play a female PC, unless he wants an extreme challenge. Female players can play a woman — I will try to maintain game balance — or cross gender lines to play a male character, if they would feel comfortable doing that.
Women are often smaller, weaker, and slower than men — this is reflected by penalties to physical ability scores in FW). Women in 11th century Europe are also second-class citizens, legally discriminated against by most aspects of the law, and never able to gain equal standing with men — i.e., they have a penalty to Social Class. From birth they are taught that they are inferior to the boys, have a place only as housekeepers and wombs, and must submit gracefully to male authority — a penalty to Charisma reflects the impact this must have on any woman's self-confidence, as well as the lack of respect toward woman. Especially, they are taught that fighting and arms are for men; women are completely unmartial creatures who are naturally meek; they do not burn with the passion and anger of men — this lifelong indoctrination results in a penalty to Bravery. The church teaches that God loves both sexes equally, but then puts women on pedestals; in addition to not burning with anger, women have fewer evil passions than men in general; they are idealized beings of virtue; men should emulate them, never sully them — as this is going to have an effect on any growing girl, female characters gain a bonus to the three virtues of Greed, Lust, and Selfishness.
All of this is a bit unbalancing, game-wise. To counteract that, female characters will start as 18-year-olds with two character levels, instead of as 16-year-olds with zero.