Status of Women in Chinese, Greek & Roman Socities

Published September 12, 2012 by AbdulJabarAzimi

Status of Women in Chinese Society

Women in Chinese society occupied a low and degraded status. They were customarily assigned the most despised and least important jobs and positions. The male child was looked upon as a “gift” from the gods, and treated accordingly. As for the female child, she had to endure multiple hardships, like the binding of her feet in order to cripple her from running and other customs. A Chinese proverb says:

“Listen to your wife, but never believe what she says.”

The status of women in the Chinese society was not much better than that of the pagan pre-Islamic Arab and the Indian societies.

Women in Greek Society

Among the Greeks, women were degraded to the extent that men claimed that women were nothing but the epitome of evil. There was no system to protect women in that society. They were deprived of the rights to education; bought and sold like any other commodity; deprived of the right of inheritance; and considered as minors with no rights to make any transactions regard to possessions and wealth. Women were subjected to the will of men throughout their lives. Divorce was an absolute right of men. The common situation of women in the society led some Greek thinkers to say:

“Woman’s name must be locked up in the house, as it is the case with her body.”

Gustave Le Bon, the French thinker, stated about the status of women in the Greek society in his book “Arab Civilization”:

“Greeks, in general, considered women to be the lowest creatures of the low. They were useful for nothing other than reproduction and taking care of the household affairs. If a woman gave birth to an ‘ugly, retarded or handicapped’ child, the man could take the liberty to kill the (unwanted or undesirable) child”.

Demosthenes, the well-known Greek orator and thinker said:

“We Greek men enjoy the company of prostitutes for sexual pleasure; ‘girl-friends’ and ‘sweet-hearts’, to care of our daily needs, and we marry to get ‘legitimate’ children”.

From this licentious double standard, and depraved morality, we can see what fortune women had in such a society based on the statement issued by one of their top rank, well-known thinkers.

Woman in Roman Society

A woman in Roman society was also looked upon as an inferior being that could not run her own affairs. All authority was in the hands of men who totally dominated all private and public affairs. Men even had the authority to sentence their wives to death in certain cases when accused of specific crimes. The authority of man over woman in the Roman society included the right to sell her, punish her with tortuous punishments, send her into exile or kill her. The woman in Roman society had to listen to and obey all commands given by the man. And they were deprived of the right of inheritance.

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