Posted: May 2nd, 2021

The Status of Women in Ancient Times

The Status Of Women In Ancient Times Throughout the years, women have had to fight for the right to gain independence and freedom. They have been through good times and bad, but through all of it women have won respect and responsibility for themselves. In the times of Ancient Egypt, women had many more rights than other places. Inheritance and property were important to them. The status of women in Mesopotamia was as simple as a contract, and men were their priority. The Napoleonic Code and the Sharia Law were degrading and difficult.
It is important that we reflect on what women have been through to learn for the future. In Ancient Egypt, women were mainly important for reproduction. Children were very important, and infertile women were divorced immediately. Marriage was a very important aspect, as it was almost considered a duty of the Egyptian people. It was also popular to marry cousins, brothers, and sisters considering family and dynasties were very important. If one was to be divorced it was a very private matter, but if they wanted, women could get divorced for any reason.
The men were also free to marry as many women as they liked. Women could inherit their husbands belonging and property. They could give it to anyone or keep it, and many of the husband’s rules were written in his will. Women had a lot of rights in Ancient Egypt and that is very close to what we are today. In Mesopotamia, the rights for women were very different. The status of women in their marriage relied completely on a contract. The women were forced to stay with their husbands until he wanted to leave her, and there was nothing she could do if she was unhappy in the relationship.

Once the husband divorced, they could not re-marry. Men dominated in every aspect, even the children. For women to have any inheritance or property it had to be in a written document. Some of the things women could do in Mesopotamian times were that they were able to buy and sell in the market place, and they could attend all legal matters. They could also conduct business on their property. The only reason why this was important though was because the men were lazy and wanted the women to work for them.
The Napoleonic Code was a code in ancient times which also contained rules for women. The main aspect was that as long as men took care of the wives and protected them, the women had to have full obedience to their husbands. They had to ask to do anything and everything. There was no such thing as more than one marriage, because the only way a woman could divorce her husband was if they had grave or a severe injury. If the women committed adultery they would have three months in jail and a divorce, where as if the men committed adultery there was no punishment.
The men were so powerful that if they were ever unhappy with their sons, they could get them arrested. The men had full use of the wife’s inheritance and property if she gave his approval, and it was very rare that she didn’t. Also, if anyone else wanted their inheritance, they would have to sue the owner of the inheritance. The husband managed the dowry completely, but had to give the wife one thing per year for maintenance or personal need. The only right the wife had was that she could make her will without the consent and authority of her husband.
Lastly, the Sharia Law was unfair to women as well. The major inequality that is noticeable is that the Muslim men could marry non-Muslim women, but Muslim women could not marry non-Muslim men. Also the men could divorce their wives but he had to pay an already agreed sum of money that was established before the marriage. Women could onluy divorce men if they were infertile, insane, had leprosy or some other skin desease. The men had full power over the children, yet the mother could only have power over them if they were too young to part from their mothers.
The worst part of the Sharia Law was that the men were given right under the Quran to hit their wives. The only right the women had were rights to inheritance, and the right to make a will. Researching all about the status of women in ancient times makes me so grateful to live the way we do today. Women should not be treated like objects or property. For a man to be able to hit a woman is so shocking to me. I believe that we should learn from our past world and know that we should not repeat some of the aspects of the law in ancient times again.

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