Most of ancient history gender stratification balanced on one crucial fact: women have children and men cannot. This automatically increases their value. As the society moves farther away from the risk of annihilation, the roles of the females trend towards the domestic sphere where the primitive hunter-gatherer society requires a greater contribution from girls to survive. Gender roles within particular cultures such as the Asian, African, and Native American societies varied depending on the means of garnering sustenance and religions of the periods, but regardless of similarities, each isolated community formed singular opinions about women distinct from others developing at the same time. Although deviations emerged, women’s place in a culture derived from their ability to care for the children and inability to reconcile to much mobility with childrearing. Therefore, ancient cultures left the domestic sphere to women. They devoted themselves to small agricultural projects, homemaking, weaving, and raising children which allowed them to remain in a sole location for periods of time. Men provided for their families through hunting, gathering, or (in more developed civilizations) agricultural work. Native American women often managed the household including preparing the food, cloth-making, light agricultural work, and childrearing. They were seen as necessary, contributing members of the community. Across the ocean, African tribes shared land instead of obtaining
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The Native women were also responsible for raising the family. While being married to a trader, the wife was supposed to act as one of their wives from back home. Usually the wife/mother would wake up early in the morning and start the day such by making food or even preparing the furs for them to be sent back to Europe. Most women would also catch the food for the family, while their husbands were occupied with the trades. They were also responsible for raising their daughters and teaching them the general skills of a woman. The sons would also stay with their mothers at home. However, when they became men they would follow their fathers and learn the business.
In current times in America, the role of women and the role of men is about equal. When it comes to home life, it’s just as common for women to go out and work as it is for a man to do it. Women have even run for President. However, in the Harappan society in ancient India, and in Sumerian times in ancient Mesopotamia, the equality and respect of women weren’t as strong as it is today. Regardless, women were respected to a certain level. Overall, the respect of women in ancient India was similar to the respect of women in Mesopotamia because goddesses were seen as powerful, young women were admired, and women were highly regarded for being able to give birth.
Gender roles in ancient Mesopotamia were clearly defined (teachmiddleeast.edu). Generally, men worked outside of the home and women stayed inside of the home while focusing on raising their children and keeping up with work that took place in the home. However, there were exceptions; we know of women who were “bartenders” and even women who were priestesses, but with limited responsibility. Due to the fact that some were from socially higher families and owned large amounts of property, those women were not allowed to marry. Women at the time were given much less freedom than men, however, women were more protected than men, which is seen in Hammurabi’s Code of Law, specifically in his 130th law:
Our world has been a male dominated society from the beginning of time. In most cultures, especially in ancient times, women were thought of as secondary to their male counterparts. Women were considered a possession just as a house or piece of property is considered a possession. The role of women in these early societies did not receive an education but was to take care of the household and have children. The women of the Minoan and Mycenaean ancient Greece cultures held much more roles than homemakers and mothers; they were allowed more freedoms and rights also oracles, priestesses, and political advisors yet they are also seen by men as nothing more than a mere possession.
During the Paleolithic time period, people traveled in small tribes consisting of 20 to 30 people. In these tribes, men and women had equal social status and had equal jobs. The men were in charge of hunting game and the women gathered plants and other sources of nutrition. In reality, the women were bringing in a much more significant percentage of the total nutrition. In the Paleolithic era both parents were also there to raise their children because these small groups of people could only travel so far from the others in the tribe. At this time these tribes had few religious beliefs but studies suggest they worshiped some animals, and sculptures were found of pregnant women suggesting that they worshiped fertility.
Women have played important roles throughout history. They have been responsible for the rise and fall of nations, sustaining families, and have been the focal point of worship in ancient religions. Moving forward in history, women's roles have continually changed. Their status as matriarchs changed as the more advanced ancient civilizations rose. The patriarchal societies of ancient Greece and Rome viewed women differently from some societies of past eras. The study of the economic and political status of women, their rights, and their contributions to both these ancient societies reveals how views change throughout history.
Native American women had to follow their husbands, fathers, and brothers to wherever they wanted to go in order to stay close to the bison. Therefore, with all the moving around, they had teepees that could be put up for living and taken down for travelling. Women were in charge of both packing up and putting up these moveable homes. Once they had claimed their new home, women started working the fields. These fields were their responsibility. Their children were also theirs to care for while the men were out on long hunting journeys. On top of all that, Native American women made things to trade, such as jewelry, tools, and pottery.
Some aspects of the lifestyle ancient civilizations lived almost seem appalling or intolerable when compared to the very developed and carefully shaped the world inhabited today. One of these characteristics of previous societies that prove to be rather challenging to conceive in current times consists of the lack of rights, privileges, and equity women had. Society maintained this assumption of a man’s superiority up until the women’s rights movement of the early twentieth century; yet with the two sexes essentially equal in America today, imagining a restricted life as a female proves unfathomable. Looking back at the history of human kind, men almost always subdued women and treated them as property. When focusing on the first
All throughout history, women have been thought of to be “weaker” and “not as capable” as men have always been thought to be. Due to this, gender roles were
Gender inequality refers to unequal treatment or perceptions of individuals wholly or partly due to their gender. It arises from differences in gender roles. Gender inequality isn’t a exercise which has just recently developed instead it is a practice which has been part of our community since civilizations have begun. When one thinks of gender issues they directly connect it with females however this issue consists of both men and women which can be heavily seen in the early eras.
In Envisioning Women in World History, by Catherine Clay, Chandrika Paul, and Christine Senecal many of the societies treated their women as in superior to men especially in religious cultures. These societies believed that men were superior intellectually and physically restraining women from many experiences. Although the laws that women had to endure became harsher when religion was involved most of the times. Some of the hardships that women before 1500 had to endure were, lack of citizenship in Greece and Rome, arranged marriages, and not being able to leave the house alone. Most women had to go through tougher times then men after the Paleolithic era, but the ones that had the least amount of power were the Muslims. Christian women
From prehistory to 600 BCE, gender roles have been influenced by religion in many civilizations. In ancient Mesopotamia, “The Mesopotamian woman's role was strictly defined. She was the daughter of her father or the wife of her husband. Women rarely acted as individuals outside the context of their families. Those who did so were usually royalty or the wives of men who had power and status” (University of Chicago). In Mesopotamia’s polytheistic religion, women were only known as the mother of a son, or the wife to a husband. This was influenced by the religion because the many gods influenced how men and women were treated in Mesopotamia. This is similar to how women were treated in another civilization at the time, Israel. In Israel, women would not own property or get a divorce, and, if involved with extramarital relations, would be put to death. According to the Oxford Research
I can say in the time of the Greek era women’s lives were very hard on them, referring to the way of thinking from men about the higher statues that they believe by showing inequality between men and women. I do think the reason why women lives were very restricted it was related to the patrilineality society, which is know to be based on the male line. I can conclude why it is less important in a matrilineal culture to keep track of a woman ‘s sexual partners, is because in the time of the ancient Greece they feel that women at the early age between 12 to 14 years old was the time to get married because young girls were pure. Greeks women’s were dominated by patriarchal society in the way that females only purpose in life was to be a mother
Throughout the history of the world, gender roles have been ever evolving. In Peter N. Stearns’s Gender in World History book, the chapter “The Traditional Base: Civilizations and Patriarchy” attempts to shed light on the change in gender roles and how the establishment of civilizations effected the roles that each gender played in society. Stearns’s thesis is that “While civilizations developed, amid contact but also limitations of exchange, gender systems- relations between men and women, assignment of roles and definitions of the attributes of each sex- had been taking shape as well.” In the chapter, Stearns constructs a well-organized argument that is clear and concisely shows the affects that patriarchy had, during the classical
When comparing the roles of women and men from the earliest ages in humanity, the roles of men has remained relatively the same for generations, while women’s roles have undoubtedly undergone tremendous reforms. The traditional roles of women could be exhibited as early as the Paleolithic age, in the era of hunter-gatherers where women were to stay near their dwellings and gather crops while the men were to go out and hunt animals to feed the family. This notion developed into the traditional roles of men being the protectors and breadwinners of the family and women being the mothers and caretakers which were known up until the mid-1900s, when this outlook began to shift. Correspondingly, the man in the family was also expected to be the head of the household and make all major decisions and handling finances and things as such. This was prevalent in a majority of places globally, with some cultural exceptions such as the Touareg tribe of the Sahara desert. Unlike most Western societies, the Touaregs believed the woman was to be the dominant partner in marriages and in the family, controlled the finances and property, and even allowed women to have multiple partners as well (Patel). Of course, this was unheard of in the West, where female sexuality was seen as taboo at the time and was viewed as a threat to the patriarchal system that was traditionally adorned. Comparatively, the perception of female intelligence prior to the 20th century has been undermined, as women’s