Gender Equality in Ancient Egypt

Gender Equality in Ancient Egypt

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Egyptians treated women very well, compared to other ancient civilizations.

Some of the different rights that women had, were that they could own

property, borrow money, sign contracts, file for an annulment, and appear in

court as a witness. With those rights, came many responsibilities that the

women were also equally subject to.

Most people assumed that in the ancient world, the man was the head of

the household. This fact varied for different women. There were a lot of strong

woman who disagreed with this, and decided to forget about custom and rule

their families.

Women could become pharaoh, but only in very special circumstances. An

example would be Cleopatra VII. Otherwise, women were totally equal to

men, as far as the law goes.

During the day, women stayed home with their daughters, and taught them

housekeeping skills, like cooking and cleaning. Girls were also taught how to

weave, dance, and play music. The boys went to school and learned how to be

scribes. It took the students up to ten years to memorize all the hieroglyphic

signs. They also had lessons in other subjects, such as astrology, astronomy,

practical arts, mathematics, and games and sports. The teachers were very

strict. If a boy was not behaving, he would be whipped or beaten.

Aside from work and learning, women and children had a lot of leisure time.

The children would spend time with their families, and play games, go to

parties and feasts, dance, play with pets, and just relax. Two of the Egyptians

favorite board games, were Snake and Senet.

One very important thing to the Egyptians was fashion. Women and older

children wore light linen clothing made from flax. Young children usually wore

nothing. Boys wore little kilts and sometimes tunic-style shirts. Women and

older girls, wore ankle-length, sheath dresses, that were plain and simple.

Women, both rich and poor, owned a lot of makeup and jewelry. They had

bracelets, rings, necklaces, earrings, beaded collars, and more. Women mostly

wore black eye charcoal, and eye shadow. Black eye charcoal is like eyeliner.

They used it like eyeliner, but they also put it on their eyebrows.

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They mixed

different color eye shadows together to get certain colors. Men owned

makeup and jewelry also.

Women and children wore their hair in many different hairstyles. Children

usually had their hair shaved off, but they would leave a lock of it on the side to

represent their noble birth. Women liked to wear their hair short. They often

wore wigs, and headdresses. The hair was braided, pulled back, or worn in

headbands.

As you can see, life for women and children in Ancient Egypt was hard work,

but also very fun. Joy and happiness were Egyptians main goals in life, and

family was the center of their lives.

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