Women Through the Ages

4 April 2015
An overview of the history of women and their status in society from ancient to modern times.

The paper discusses the status of women from ancient times in countries such as China, Japan and Egypt, through the Middle Ages, the American colonies, England and finally to the formation of women’s emancipation movements and their success in modern times. The paper shows how education was the strongest tool in gaining women their freedom.
Ancient Romans shared many common practices with ancient Greeks, such as early marriages. Roman marriages, however, were primarily meant to preserve family land and carry the family name and were not religious, but only legal, political or militaristic events. Women’s status in ancient was completely dependent on their husbands and they passed from their fathers to their husbands. Women also surrendered their dowry and other property to their husbands Roman laws on marriage did not require the bride’s consent; penalized unmarried and childless women between the ages of 20 and 50 as well as widows and divorcees who did not remarry within prescribed periods after their husbands’ death or separation; punished only women for adultery; prohibited wives to charge their husbands for adultery and unmarried women and widows to engage in sex, while entitling upper-class men to do so with prostitutes and other lower-class women.

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