From Downton Abbey to Call the Midwife and now Jamestown, period dramas always fall into the classic trap – characters with laughably liberal values for their day. Stop the madness, TV-makers!
Breaking news: women are and always have been people.
Weak women in the past would not have survived.
Affable, pleasant wives are what you want as a nobleman for political reasons. So she doesn’t get more power than you and pull an Isabella of France, Edward II’s wife and depose her husband set herself up as queen in 1326/7.
Period tv shows and movies do have a problem with putting 21st mindsets on their characters (not just their women), but it’s more subtle and to make things more palatable for viewers, not that the women have more personality and vim than a damp mop.