Throughout written history, women have experienced status subservient to
the men they lived with. Generally, most cultures known to modern historians
followed a standard pattern of males assigned the role of protector and provider
while women were assigned roles of domestic servitude. Scholars speculate
endlessly at the cause: biology, religion, social custom. Nevertheless, the
women were always subordinated to the men in their culture. Through their
artwork, tomb inscriptions, and papyrus and leather scrolls, preserved in the
dry, desert air, Ancient Egyptians left evidence for scholars suggesting that
Egypt was once a peculiar exception to this pattern. Anthropological evidence
suggests that unusual circumstances in Ancient Egyptian culture provided for
women to be given equal status to their male counterparts: notably, matrilineal
inheritance and emphasis on the joy of family life over maintaining ethnic
Legally, women in Ancient Egypt held the same legal rights as men. A
woman could own property and manage it as she saw fit. One example of this, the
Inscription of Mes, provided scholars with proof that women could manage
property, institute litigation, and could act as a witness before a court of law.
Surviving court documents not only showed that women were free to take action
with the court, but the documents also show that they frequently won their cases.
They could also enter contracts and travel freely, unescorted, throughout the
state. This is a great contrast to women in Greece, who were required to act
through a male representative. Interestingly, property and its administration
was passed from mother to daughter, matrilineally. The Egyptians relied on
matrilineal heritage, based on the assumption that maternal ancestors are less
disputable than paternal ones. The effect of legal equality in writing and
practice coupled with the ownership and administration of property led to an
The rights... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(1999, 10). Rights of Egyptian Women. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 1999, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Rights-Egyptian-Women-4436.html
"Rights of Egyptian Women" StudyMode.com. 10 1999. 10 1999 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Rights-Egyptian-Women-4436.html>.
"Rights of Egyptian Women." StudyMode.com. 10, 1999. Accessed 10, 1999. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Rights-Egyptian-Women-4436.html.