Role of Women in Mughal India, Qing China, Islam, & Medieval Europe

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Women played a substantial role in Asia and Europe. The roles differed from country to country. A lot of women had a very low status compared to men, while others had equal rights. Some of the rights that they did not get to have were not being able to vote, having no freedom, and not being able to get jobs. Although these rights may seem very minor they changed the way women felt about themselves and their societies. The way women are treated can influence their cultures, societies and their self esteems.

In India, during the Mughal rule, women faced some equality. Women from high class families had greater titles, than that of the lower class.

They also received payments for jobs as well as being able to own land and interact with businesses. These higher women also received an education and were very expressive in art and literature. Some sources of the Mughal’s income was spinning thread which all classes were able to do.

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They would make blankets or clothing and sell it to local villages. They sold a lot of cloths to other countries: Arabia, East Africa, Egypt, and Europe. However, women also had restrictions on what they can and cannot due. The Muslim’s felt that women shouldn’t be able to associate with men outside of their homes, to protect them from Hindus in higher positions. Sati, child marriage, was also practice in India. Women also had to do what there husbands told them to Overall women in India were treated equally in some respects.

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Some were able to get an education and make wages to support families while the low class was more protective by husbands and laws.

In India, Muslim religion played a strict role on women. They told them what to wear and what to do. I feel that today it has changed moderately. There religion still makes women obey laws such as clothing and the roles they play in there families. In Qing China, women were subordinate to men. The concept that women were secondary to men has been in Chinese history for a very long time. Women were not allowed to put on sacred rituals. They were not allowed to be teachers or have government positions the only positions they could have was to stay at home and watch their children.

Women in China were not allowed to divorce there wife, although men could divorce or have a second wife or concubine for pleasures. Female children were even worse off then adult women. Young girls were often looked at as weak and inferior. They usually had no physical strength so they were deprived from education and sometimes even life. When there was a shortage of food in the home the food would usually be given to the son instead of the daughter because a male in superior to a girl. Also foot binding also happened for ritual reasons. Sometimes women were almost equal to men. Women that were smarter or stronger played a better role in the family. Such roles are educating children and taking care of the money the husband made. If the women were really lucky they would be able learn the Confucian classics. Overall in Qing China women were treated horribly. Confucian readings have had a lot of influence on women’s positions in China. The readings say how women are inferior to men and men are above everyone. In China, the way women have been treated has changed greatly over time they are more respected and play a more active role in society,.

In Islam, women were treated in a variety of different ways. Religion was very important in this society. How you are treated in this country depended on your religious status. Each religious group with the empire organized communities where a patriarch or a rabbi determined the laws. Mostly women in the Ottoman empire were allowed to inherit property and dowries.

They had the choice of who they wanted to marry and also could divorce. They had lots of influence in palaces and sometimes had roles in the government. All in all women were tolerated by men it just depended on what religion you are or your social status. In Islam women are still subordinate to men today. They have some rights but not total freedom. In Europe, women were treated rather negatively. During the sixteen hundreds a witchcraft craze took place. The medieval church linked witches, who were women, to the devil. A lot of women were being linked to witchcraft and being brought to trial and killed. This showed how Europeans disrespected women just because they had certain hobbies or believed in witchcraft. During the Enlightenment men debated whether or not women were inferior to men. They felt that women were inferior to them intellectually.

They felt that it was a “natural biological” difference and that there was no way to change it. Many women felt that this was wrong and proved it. One woman was Mary Astell who felt that they lacked the education of men. In Europe, women weren’t necessarily treated worse than men. It is just that in there society they have had the mentality that men are better than women. Over the hundreds of years that has changed and women are very well-educated. Man of these countries are different due to religion and mentality. In Islam women are insubordinate due to religion, while in Europe they were just educated that way. In India, women are treated fairly well, they have lots of rights. They can be involved in businesses and make cloth. In China, women are treated very poorly. Women are lucky if they get to stay alive and have a family. I feel overall women have had many improvements in the way they are treated. Now most of these women in these countries are well-educated and can make decisions on their own, but sadly enough not all countries can respect women in that way.

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Role of Women in Mughal India, Qing China, Islam, & Medieval Europe. (2023, Mar 14). Retrieved from

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