The role of women in different civilizations, even though on different spectrum's of the world, had many similarities and only a few differences. Women in these four civilizations: Greece, Egypt, China, and India faced many of the same hardships, struggles, and prejudices. Some of this treatment of women didn't even end until present day (1920's). In some of these civilizations women were able to rise up somewhat in their communities but it didn't come without some kind of interference. When it came to the rights of these women, they really didn't have any at all. In Greece women were considered to be second class citizens at best.
All women were forbidden to own property, inherit their own name, vote, or attend political debate. Men viewed them as nothing of real importance. To them they were irrational, fearful, and only to be used for their physical desires. They were considered to be the ward of a man (Sacks 263). Women in Egypt were treated fairly well compared to the others. They shared the same legal and economic rights as men they were capable of owning land, slaves, and could acquire possessions for themselves in many ways.
Elite women did have more rights and opportunities than the none lite but they were both very fortunate. Regardless of class though, all women had only a few main concerns and expectations. They were all expected to get married and raise a family, maintain the management of the household, and bearing and rearing children (Harrison 510). The rights of women in China and India were similar as well. In India the rights of women have barley changed since ancient times. Women in this country are not allowed to own property, show their faces in public, and are the complete property of a man (web women.
html). The women of china were also inferior to men. For around two thousand years they lived under the rules and laws set by Confucius. The Confucius doctrine said that women weren't equal to men because they were unworthy and incapable of an education. These women were the property of men from birth till death (Andrea and Over field 82-90). Their rights were not only limited to their families though in some cases there were actual laws passed that limited the rights of women.
In ancient times The Code of Hammurabi for example had several laws that restricted women when it had to do with marriage and what a husband could do. One law stated: "If the wife of a free man has been caught while lying with another man, they shall bind them and throw them into the water" (Spiel vogel 9). It says nothing about whether a woman would have caught her husband cheating. There are even examples of this in our present day. The male supremacy doctrine of 1873 was used in many ways so that men could have control over women. It restricted women from holding office, owning land, etc.
(McClean 153). The treatment of women in terms of marriage and education differed in every civilization. The education of women in Greece was minimal. There is some evidence that some women were formally educated as much as men but those women were from the upper class.
Even those not from the upper class were somewhat educated in the arts (web). The same education applies for the women of Egypt. They all had some type of education but the elite education was always much better than that of the none lite (Sacks 35). Some Chinese women were educated in ancient times but not many. Women started to really become educated when they became viewed as equals during the 19 th and 20 th centuries (Dillion 344). The women of India were completely denied the right to an education.
There is some evidence though of small amounts of education being taught in southern India. These women were taught through Kannada Kavas, which is a form of learning only about the arts (web). Marriage was different for all of these cultures. In Egypt a woman had a right to one third of the property brought into the marriage, any dowry that she brought into the marriage would remain hers, and in case of a divorce al of the woman's property was to be returned to her (web). The women in Greece had no rights in the marriage. They lost everything and gave everything to their husbands.
They went from their father's house to their husbands house (Sacks 53). Chinese women had to go through the ritual of the bonding of the feet. They believed it was beautiful for a woman to have very small feet. Chinese women, also like the Greeks, gave everything to their husbands.
The ritual for the women of India is the same way now as it was then. The only difference is how young women would get married. It was common for a five or six year old girl to get married to an eighteen year old man. Now it is around the age of eighteen for both.
The woman and the woman's family must still present dowry to the husband and his family. There were also limited rights in the family back then as there is now. Women in India can go through being burned and abused by their husbands with nothing being done at all (web women. html). These women, even though they were very restricted, they were responsible for items when it came to home and family. Out of all of the civilizations, Egypt had women doing the most work.
The women were allowed to work in and out of the home. They held down jobs as household servants, hairdressers, wet nurses, nannies, in textile production and worked in state fields (). In Greece the woman's work was inside the home only. It was said that their "place" was the interior of the home, this was the "woman's chamber" (Sacks 263). Indian women, like the Greeks, worked only on the interior. The women of China had the worst experience and treatment when it came to their work.
They were forced to do everything for the family in the household and if the family hit hard times they could have even been forced into prostitution (Dillion 346). Even with all the set backs women faced, they did eventually start to rise up. Not all of Greece had women or views of women as submissive and subservient. Sparta was the only city in Greece that granted citizen women any degree of freedom. They were capable of owning their own property, they were encouraged to join athletics such as gymnastics, and some rose to be estate managers.
They were even capable of participating in religion and could leave the house during holy days. During the Hellenistic age the treatment of women started to lighten up. Many started to realize that they have a greater value including their intelligence (Sacks 264). Chinese women didn't start to rise up until the 20 th century when communism began. Communists believed that women were equal to men; they felt that it would help the population of china to thrive (Dillion 346). The women of Egypt were treated well and did have a say in many of the things that involved them so they didn't rise up too much more.
Unfortunately for the women in India they have never truly risen up. They are still victims of being very subservient to men. In conclusion, women in all of these cultures have faced many hard times. Either from their community, husbands, fathers, or any man they were put down and restricted but though it all many women found a way to rise up through it all.
There is still a long way for women of other culture to go but times are changing and anything is possible.