A gentlewoman (from the Latingentilis, belonging to a gens, and English 'woman') in the original and strict sense is a woman of good family, analogous to the Latin generosus and generosa. The closely related English word "gentry" derives from the Old Frenchgenterise, gentelise, with much of the meaning of the Frenchnoblesse and the GermanAdel, but without the strict technical requirements of those traditions, such as quarters of nobility.
By association with gentleman, the word can refer to:
Isabella Whitney, The Copy of a Letter, Lately Written in Meter by a Young Gentlewoman: to her Unconstant Lover, ca. 1567 earliest known volume of English language secular poetry published by a woman
Jane Anger: Her Protection for Women to defend them against the scandalous reports of a late surfeiting Lover... Written by Jane Anger, Gentlewoman at London (1589)
Richard Braithwaite's The English Gentlewoman (1631), followed his The English Gentleman (1630), both being books about acceptable behaviour.