From its Anglo-Saxon root word “wif”, wife simply means “woman.”
A woman’s profession, such as a policewoman or chairwoman, often acknowledges her gender in her job title.
Housewife and midwife are among the few titles like this to have survived from medieval times, but at one time, an alewife owned a pub, an oysterwife sold oysters, and a fishwife sold fish.
She picked up her vulgarity from the men on the waterfront.
That’s why is a vulgar woman is called a “fishwife” while a respectable married woman is a “housewife”.