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Role of Women in Society Essay

A woman in today’s society is somewhat equal to a man’s, or any other person for that matter. Things back before the 1500’s were very strict for women, women basically had no rights. Women had no right to vote, no freedom of speech, women did not work back in the 1500’s they were stay at home mom’s, and took care of their households, and wifely duties. In the ancient times women had their places, and what their roles were supposed to be. It was very important for a woman to know what her role in life is, and how to handle herself.

In many countries, the women had very similarities, and a few differences. Women in Greece, Egypt, Rome, and Israel had a lot of the same struggles and hardships. The women of today are still playing roles as mothers, wives, and child bearers. During the Ancient times otherwise known as Ancient Civilization women were sometimes misunderstood because of the different roles they played. In the global perspective, many cultures are similar, and some have contrast. Women in the countries of Greece, Egypt, Rome, and Israel are a few places that women’s cultures are mentioned and foretold.

What were their roles? Who were they? Where did the live? How were they treated? Were they treated fairly, or did they have equal rights like some of the societies do today? And how did their role affect others? Although women did not have freedom back in the 1500’s, some societies still practice the same roles today, as back then. Knowing how they lived their lives shows that some traditional things they did back before the 1500’s are roles that women are still practicing today. “Throughout most of history women generally have had fewer legal rights and career opportunities than men.

Wifehood and motherhood were regarded as women’s most significant professions. In the 20th century, however, women in most nations won the right to vote and increased their educational and job opportunities. Perhaps most important they fought for and to a large degree accomplished a reevaluation of traditional view of their roles in society. ”(Women History in America, 1994 p. 1) Women were considered weaker than men, unable to perform work that requires muscular or intellectual development.

In most preindustrial societies, the domestic chores were for the women, leaving the heavier labor like hunting and plowing to men. They ignore the fact that caring for children, and doing tasks as milking cows, and washing laundry also required heavy labor. Maternity and child bearing were a natural role that a woman performed; this led to stereotyping that women belonged in the home. Tradition has it that a middle class girl in Western Culture tender to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Cooking, cleaning, and caring for the children were something that was expected when she grew up.

The reason for this was as they were growing up their own expectations had been declined because neither their family nor teachers expected them to prepare for a future other than to get married and bear children. “Throughout history, most societies have held women in an inferior status compared to that of men. Thus situation was often justified as being the natural result of biological differences between the sexes. In many societies, for example people believed women to be naturally more emotional and less decisive than men.

Women were also held to be less intelligent and less creative by nature. But research shows that women and men have the same range of emotional, intellectual, and creative characteristics. Many sociologists and anthropologists maintain that various cultures have taught girls to behave according to negative stereotypes (images) of femininity, thus keeping alive the idea that women are naturally inferior. ”(Giele, J. Z. 2012) In ancient societies, most women’s lives were centered on their households.

In Greek, in a city/state called Athens from 500 to 300 B. C. women raised their children as well as did spinning, weaving, and cooking. The wealthy women did some of the work themselves, although they also supervised the slaves in the tasks. Athenian women seldom left their homes. Every society had a different way of viewing the world; to view one age, through the eyes of another can often lead to misunderstanding. Ancient and modern societies are different in lots of ways but there are four roles that have had impact on the societies. Jobs- The majority of people in the ancient world made their way of living through agriculture.

Farming requires ownership, and access to the land, agriculture back then was a necessity for a family business. Jobs for women were limited to work as household servants. Marriage- Marriage was considered the normal state in the ancient world, though Athenian men put it off until age thirty, most everyone else married soon after puberty. A woman that was single might find a job in a temple, or as a household servant. Family- Access to land for farming purposes the dominant occupation was only allowed through the family. Individual and society- Certain cultures enforce the traditions on all the members of their culture.

Women in Ancient Israel- In ancient Israel the man was the head of the household and women were considered helpmate, and considered to help out their husband to benefit each other, they wanted to eventually be partnership. As in most of the Ancient World marriage was considered an ideal state. Parent’s arranged the marriage with trying to find a suitable match from the same tribe, and neighboring village. Strict rules prohibited a man from marrying his sister, mother, daughter, or any other ways that he would be tied to his wife in more than just marriage.

The bride’s family gave their daughter to the groom’s family, although the bride moved to her husband’s home she still was in close ties with her birth family. Considering that a married couple was an economic partnership if the man became bankrupt and could not afford and pay off his debts then his wife would be sold to slavery as well as him. A wife’s first duty was to give birth and preferably to a son to continue her husband’s name and to take his place in line. Families that were well off it was common for the wife to have her own personal slave. If the wife could not have a child she could give the slave to her husband.

If the wife’s husband died without having a son, than the brother of the man or the closest male family member would marry the widow, that way she could still have a chance to have a son and the child would be closely enough related to her dead husband and the child could care his name. Polygyny was accepted in Israel. Women In Ancient Rome- In Rome a young women that married early left her childhood home and the authority of her father, and entered the home of her husband as well as his authority and power. “In law her status was not very different from that of her husband’s daughter. (Women in the Ancient World Rome, 2012 p. 1)

Other than the lower classes women were not allowed to work although they did not want to anyway. They thought of work to be done by the slaves, and the low class people who did not know any better. Women were very demanding in Ancient Rome and getting more freedom. The status of a women in the ancient world are very difficult, and more so in Rome where theory and practice were so far apart. The Roman men placed their marriage, home and the family very high value and this was a difference in society on how women were treated.

Most of Athenian men seem to think their wives were best as an inconvenience. In Rome women were never allowed to hold public office or work in the government. Women were not even allowed to make any suggestions though by the beginning of the empire many men were asking their wives for advice, and it was all right to do so provided it was in private, and the husband did not make too much of a deal of it. Although the women had a life outside the home, the respectable women were not supposed to be wandering around alone outside.

Women in Ancient Greece- in Greece women were known as largely inferior creatures that were more intelligent than children. Women in Greece had no political rights, she also did not have the civic rights to take part in the communities religious and economic institutions. His wife and children were supposed to do as he said and perform their household duties. “In reality a Greek wife (or mother or other female relative if the head of the household was not married) actually ran the household on a day-to-day basis. With few exceptions, women spent most of their time in the home, the exact opposite of their menfolk. (Nardo, 2004)

In Hellenistic time some of the Greek women were not afraid to stand up to their fathers, and other male authorities. Many Hellenistic women experienced small but significant gains in their rights; most were still excluded from political life however. Greek women in the larger kingdom were allowed to grant and receive loans (Nardo, 2004) Women in Ancient Egypt- in Egypt women are treated better than any other major society of the ancient world. Egyptian women were very fortunate for a few reasons; one Egyptian woman would become Pharaoh under very special circumstances.

This being that they were totally equal to men; they could loan and borrow money, sign contracts as well as initiate divorce, and appear in court as a witness. They were also equally responsible for anything that accompanied these rights. Two, love and emotional support they considered important parts of marriage. The Kings especially the ones in the New Kingdom had many wives, although only one carried the title as King’s Great Wife and carried on as Queen. Many Egyptians of both sexes had more than one spouse. The most common title of the house for non-royal women was known as the mistress of the house.

As in some of the other societies the men were known as being the head of the household. Egyptian women were responsible for their nurturing of the young children, but they could also work at a trade, own and operate a business, inherit property, and come out well in divorce proceedings. (Jones, 2010) Females were allowed to be religious leaders in the priesthood, though they were not equal to men. Women had been trained in medicine and other highly skilled jobs. In ancient Egypt women were allowed to buy jewelry, and other fine goods, some women that worked even became rich.

The status of a woman in ancient Egypt was so important that a women was entitled to the crown that was passed through the royal women and not the men “When the Greeks conquered Egypt in 332 B. C. E. , Egyptian women was allowed more rights and privileges than Greek women, who were forced to live under the less equal Greek system. ” (Tyldesley, 2012) Women were sometimes misunderstood, and while there were similarities, and differences in the societies the majority of the societies had a lot of the same similarities where women were to be homemakers, bear children, obeyed her husband.

In some of the societies women had little or no rights which included political and religious. Women did not have much freedom, and they were to be seen and not spoken. There are lots of aspects to a woman of an ancient society not discussed here some which center on her ability to see the chance for use of power and utilize it to her fullest capabilities, although the medieval women were very similar to women of today, watching out for her families best interest and working to voice her opinion in society.


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