It is a stereotype that women in the Middle Ages had two career options: mother or holy woman, with prostitute or chattel filling in the gaps between those two. Whether we like it or not, for the most part this stereotype is accurate and the status and role of women in that era revolved around these categories.
This is one reason that when an author sets fiction in this time period, it often can be difficult to write a self-actualized female character who has any kind of autonomy or authority over her own life. Thus, it is common practice to make fictional characters either healers of some sort (thus opening up a whole array of narrative possibilities for travel and interaction with interesting people) or to focus on high status women. Such women may or may not actually have had more autonomy, but their lives didn’t consist of drudgery and childcare from morning until night.
This is not to say that men in the Middle Ages weren’t equally restricted in their ‘careers’. A serf is still a serf after all, of whatever gender. Men as a whole, however, did have control of women, of finances, of government, and of the Church, and thus organized and ruled the world. Literally.
There are obvious exceptions—Eleanor of Aquitaine, anyone? —but women such as she were one out of thousands upon thousands who were born, worked, and died within five miles of their home.