The definition of Gender role in the oxford dictionary is “The role or behavior learned by a person as appropriate to their gender, determined by the prevailing cultural norms”, (Oxford Dictionary). Gender differences between men and women has always played a major role in our past study of history. All civilizations are going to have their own variations and even some similarities in their own gender roles. Civilizations flooded Asia and the surrounding of the Mediterranean with thousands of years in history, although today I will be comparing and analyzing both the Egyptian and the Chinese gender roles some of the world’s greatest civilizations disregarding their distances from one another, the responsibilities of the male and female.
How they’re influenced by age, education, marriage or involvement in society whether of jobs or government of the region in ancient times. In Ancient China during the Western Zhou time women were not as equal to men in many different ways. According to our Worlds of history book, in ancient China the ideas of Confucius have been most influential which believes the basis for social order and morality begins in human interaction (Reilly, 156). The major difference between male and female happen to be more of unequal powers between the male and female in the household, “baby girls didn’t bring as much joy to the family because the valued the son more.” Therefore, which would make them unworthy of education only the higher rank or scholars of girls which were very few would receive education (Shen & D’Ambrosio).
This caused most of the women to be illiterate at the time. They suffered from jobs and certain positions such as females could never become a leader or take part in the ancient Chinese government. Women were responsible for taking on the inner ones such as family relations and housework giving birth to the children was their highest priorities. While Men were responsible for dealing with the outer work such as economic and political affairs. Marriages in ancient China were usually arranged by both sides of the family, economic and social considerations were favorable in everyone’s minds. Late teen for women biographies suggests that women were getting married from the ages between thirteen and seventeen. Remarriage was accepted for both the men and women but Confucius began to speak out against remarriage of women and to prohibit them. Men typically were getting married in early 20s but only if they can afford having a wife and children (Vivante, 14) As in Ancient Egypt civilization genders in the middle east there happen to have many similarities to the Chinese.
The central value was “ma ‘at” a concept of harmony and balance in all aspects of life (Cartwright). Which is going to be very similar in a way with the Chinese idea of Confucius which promoted morality and social order is the beginning of human interactions. Another great similarity was men and women shared same culture related in the household compared to the Chinese, women bearing and raising the children until they are old enough. While men taught the boys to trade and getting involved in society. Women in this ancient Egyptian civilization were equal to men in all areas “Men fought, ran the government, and managed the farm; women cooked, sewed, and managed the house” (Mark ,89). However, men were considered the head of the household and were in positions of authority such as rulers, generals and even kings, as well as women could hold the jobs they wanted within limits with some getting into governmental jobs which wasn’t possible for women in the Chinese societies.
As for education in both of these ancient civilizations was more favoring for the boys to pursue school learning at a beginning age while the girls stayed home and focused on household care. (Gender roles, 2000) By comparing these ancient civilizations and analyzing their gender roles, it helped identify the similarities and differences they had. Both civilizations have thousands of years of history buried in their cultures and knowing the gender roles at the time can help us identify the changes that were made over time and to analyze whether they are an improvement to civilization. This can be important for the course of world history because it allows us to know the roles, male and females were entitled to at the time. It allows us to relate ourselves to ancient times.
Whether inside the household or in schools, gender roles between these civilizations proves there can be similarities between the two sides of the world the Mediterranean and China. We also learn the rights and gender equality that was taking place how Egyptian civilation was a giving the female as equal rights as the man. This was different than all other civilizations at that time and really set an example for all other civilizations. By females advantaging from equal rights this will encourage healthier respected relationships in society. Thousands of years later It is difficult to fully understand the role of genders in ancient Egyptian society because the understandings of the society and governments are still incomplete. However, Ancient Egypt and ancient china were both societies dominated by men.
Going over many similarities and differences tend to build a modern perception in our minds upon these groups of how both genders had essential roles in the household in both civilizations. As for China, they are known for their strict culture and more of a strict gender upon women and their involvement in society and jobs. It explains to us how difficult it was fulfilling your role if you were female at the time, in that which shaped the perceptions on roles by getting both males and females involved and developed more in society of this era. The responsibilities of the male and female. How they’re influenced by age, education, marriage or involvement in society helps us learn from the thoughts and mistakes made at that time, females deserve a right to education just as equal to men. And by giving the genders equal rights and respect in society, it will often lead to better opportunity for the family.
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