The Changing Role of Women in Ancient Civilizations Essay

The Changing Role of Women in Ancient Civilizations Essay

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Henrik Ibsen once said, “A woman cannot be herself in the society of the present day, which is an exclusively masculine society, with laws framed by men and with a judicial system that judges feminine conduct from a masculine point of view.”(Notable Quotes) Ibsen’s statement exemplifies what life was like for women during ancient times. In many of the organized ancient civilizations, it was very common to find a primarily patriarchal civilization in government as well as in society. The causing factors can be attributed to different reasons, the main being the Neolithic Revolution and the new found dependence on manpower it caused. As a result of this, a woman found herself to be placed into an entirely different view in the eye of society. In comparison to the early Paleolithic matriarchal societies, the kinds of changes that came about for women due to the introduction of agriculture are shocking. Since the beginnings of the Neolithic era, the role and rights of women in many ancient civilizations began to become limited and discriminatory as a result of their gender.
Prior to the use of agriculture, life was extremely different for women. The information that historians have obtained is limited, but there are certain aspects of Paleolithic society that have been discovered and point towards a more liberal lifestyle for women. Generally, a woman’s job was to gather food and tend to her children while her male counterpart hunted. These simple divisions allowed both men and women to play significant roles in hunter-gatherer society, which further allowed women to be held in equal if not greater esteem then men. According to Elisabeth Gaynor Ellis and Anthony Elser, authors of World History: Connections to Today, women also held...

... middle of paper ..., Elisabeth Gaynor., and Anthony Esler. World History Connections to Today. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1999. Print.
Lukacs, John R. "Fertility and Agriculture Accentuate Sex Differences in Dental Caries Rates." Current Anthropology 1 Oct. 2008: 901-14. Literary Reference Center. Web. 22 May 2011. .
Nardo, Don. The Ancient Greeks at Home and at Work. 1st ed. San Diego, CA: Lucent, 2004. Print.
Nardo, Don. Women of Ancient Rome. 1st ed. San Diego [Calif.: Lucent, 2003. Print.
"Susan B. Anthony." Ideas for Women. Web. 24 May 2011. .
"Women Quotes." Notable Quotes. Web. 20 May 2011. .

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