Compare and Contrast Egypt and Mesopotamian Women

Topics: Marriage, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Near East Pages: 2 (393 words) Published: October 2, 2011
The significance of woman can be traced back to the beginning of humanity. They gathered plants, raised children, and may have started agriculture. Women’s lives were very different but also similar in the civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia. They were different in how they viewed women’s equality with men, status in marriage, but were similar in the way that they were associated with homemaking.

In most civilizations, including Mesopotamia, women’s equality was lesser than men’s. Men could own property, sell land, and act as political leaders. However, these privileges did not apply to women. In Mesopotamia, their legal status was much lesser than men’s as were their rights. This however was not the case in Egypt. Women were allowed to own property, sell land, and in some occasions act as political leaders. Their legal status was equal to men and they were held much higher than women in Mesopotamia.

Marriages in Egypt and Mesopotamia were almost always arranged. However the difference was that in Mesopotamia, women were considered the property of the man whereas in Egypt, women were considered the equal. An example is that women in Mesopotamia were veiled when married because they were under control of a man whereas they were not veiled in Egypt. A statue of a man and a woman found in Egypt provides evidence for their equality because they are equal in size and dress. This is opposite in Mesopotamia where men controlled what a women could do and what she owned. Women were considered the property of her husband.

Since agriculture took off, women’s status as workers decreased. With rising populations, women now more frequently became child bearers and homemakers. While the men worked in the fields, the women stayed home and took care of cleaning and raising the children. This was true in both the Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations. This resulted in a less respectful view of women.

Over the course of the agricultural age, women’s status has...
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