The Role of Women in China

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Throughout most of documented history women of all culture and civilizations have lived under patriarchal circumstances.   In almost every civilization women's status was not equal to that of men’s. During the Post-Classical Period, Chinese women had several changes in society and politics while women in the Americas continued to use their technology in stone boards. Women remained clearly subordinate to men. They continued to exclude women from the sort of education that would allow them to enter the civil service and rise to positions of political power. However, Empresses Wu and Wei and the concubine Yang Guifei make clear, Tang women could wield considerable power at the highest level of Chinese society. The neo-Confucians stressed the woman’s role as a homemaker and mother particularly as the bearer of sons to continue the patrilineal family line. The neo-Confucians also advocated confining women and emphasized the importance of virginity for young brides, fidelity for wives, and chastity for widows. They drafted laws that favored men in inheritance, divorce, and family interaction. Foot binding was introduced to women because men developed a preference for small feet for women and that limited mobility could make it easier for husbands to confine their wives to the family compound. Aztec woman assumed a variety of roles. Peasant woman helped in the fields, but their primary domain was the household, where child-rearing and cooking took up much time. Marriages often were arranged between lineages, and virginity at marriage was highly regarded for young women. Aztec women could inherit property and pass it to their heirs. The rights of Aztec women seemed to have been fully recognized, but in political and social life their role, though complementary to that of men, remained subordinate. The technology of the Americas limited social development in a variety of ways. In the maize-based economies of Mesoamerica, women spent six hours a day...
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