Let no man carve runes to cast a spell, save first he learn to read them well.
Were they men or women or both? Many of the websites I investigated said that runemasters were usually women (but they provided no citation). Tacitus, on the other hand, claimed it was the local priest (chieftain) or the father of the family who read the runes, and other sites state that with few exceptions (e.g., seidr witches), men dominated rune magic.
The term runemaster seems to be a moderately new addition to our language, according to Webster's Dictionary, where a runemaster is defined as a maker of runes, a magician, with Odin being the greatest runemaster of the ancient Germanic world. Webster also says that the first known use of the term was in 1869.
Confused? Let me summarize what I believe to be the most accurate or likely interpretation. If you read my blog with any regularity, you know that I lean strongly toward factual information when it comes to understanding the history in which Runes were used. For that reason and because of my own research into what life was like before and during the Viking Age, I believe that men did dominate rune work/magic/runestones. I don't believe they were called runemasters. I'm not sure we can ever know who or what a runemaster really was or was called a thousand year ago.
This little foray into the term runemaster opens the door for more posts on the subject. Look for one or two of those later this year.