Women’s Role in History
HIST 103 World Civilizations I
Instructor: Bruce Carruthers
March 18, 2013
To the present without women many cultures would not have evolved. Women were the background in each and every aspect of life’s developments. Women were a very important key factor in societies. From the beginning of history there have been women who have worked hard within societies to achieve a greater social, political, and economic involvement. To strive for rights, women formed political groups called Feminist movements. Throughout history, most societies held women in an inferior status compared to that of a man. This was often justified as being the result of biological differences between men and women. In many societies, people believed women to be more emotional and less decisive than men. Women were viewed to be less intelligent and less creative by nature. In ancient Rome, the Athens women's primary role was to manage the household affairs. Women could not hold public office. Men in Athens and Romans were dominated as head of the household. But the Romans developed a system of government based on the authority and leadership of a noble class that included not only statesmen and military leaders, but also the matrons of leading Roman families (Mahdavi, 2012). Upper-class women gained greater control over their property and over marriage decisions. But, even these women could not vote or hold public office. The lives of most of these women were centered around their households. In the Greek city-state of Athens from about 500 to 300 B.C., women raised children and managed the spinning, weaving, and cooking in the household (Mahdavi, 2012). Wealthy women supervised slaves in these tasks, but they also did some of the work themselves. Respectable Athenian women seldom left their homes. Only men could purchase goods or engage in soldiering, lawmaking, and public speaking. Roman and Greek women lived in a world with strict gender roles. Each person was judged on terms of compliance with a gender specific standard of conduct. The men were placed above women in the terms of independence, control and freedom. Men were able to live at large, they were able to come and go as they pleased. Men’s lives were nowhere near as sheltered as women. Most of were assigned the role as a housewife/homemaker. Women were there to be good wives and mothers. Rome women were considered to be a possession of their husband. Women have been categorized and held back in some cultures, but in other cultures women were as equal as men. While exploring the different civilizations during the ancient history times (BCE to CE), An Egyptian woman, was considered to be equal to a man. As a Middle Eastern woman, they were considered to be ruled by their husbands but had their own property, slaves and jobs. As a Chinese woman, they were not allowed to do much, mainly respect and honor their husbands, birth a boy, and honor the mother-in-law (Maynes, M. J. & Waltner, A., 2001). Middle Eastern women have worked in all types of fields including medicine, education, agriculture, government, private sector, and even defense. These women kept roofs over the heads of their families while the husbands were away at war. An Islamic woman’s roles are as diverse as any other member of a family. The women play a part in social, political, religious, and even economical positions. These varied roles that the Muslim women played are considered by many to be partially dominated by their husband. Although the Qur'an teaches that men and women are equal, these teachings have been shown to be inconsistent and interpreted in different ways. Women could be inherited as a possession or even enslaved. In an Islamic family the male relatives, being the husband, father, brother, uncle, or son always protects the women. Being a woman in an Islamic family brings an unbalanced hierarchy. The women of the Islamic family are mainly because the women hold the...
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