In Ancient societies such as those of Greece, Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, Rome, and India, women have been consistently been classified as less than men. Regardless of location, early civilizations other than Africa had patriarchal social and family structures. Equal treatment of women was not yet conceived in ancient civilizations. Citizen and non-citizen, free born, freed and slave, father and children, male and female---each had a different standing in law. Unfortunately, the majority of women were on the losing side of the law.
In Mesopotamia, a woman's rights were never equal to those of men. It was nearly impossible to be respected if you were not married. However, in the early Neolithic period, women were free to go out to the marketplaces, buy and sell, attend to legal matters for their absent men, own their own property, borrow and lend, and engage in business for themselves. High status women, such as priestesses and members of royal families, might learn to read and write and be given considerable administrative authority. Numerous powerful goddesses were worshiped; in some city states they were the primary deities. However, these do not cancel out the negative things. Especially in the later period of Mesopotamian history, women were confined to their houses to birth and raise children. They were not allowe4d to divorce their husbands, and Hammurabi's code indirectly degraded women.
In ancient India, women occupied a very important position. Literary evidence suggests that kings and towns were destroyed because a single woman was wronged by the state. To instill such high ideals in human kind, Indian ancestors created a plethora of goddesses who enjoyed equal status with their husbands. The concept of Ardhanareeshwarar, where God is depicted as half-man and half-woman, is a concrete example to support this argument. In many philosophical texts God is referred to a Tat, meaning It and that God is beyond gender.... [continues]
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