Struggles Of Women Essay

1149 words - 5 pages

The Struggles of Women In Sparta, Athens, and Rome women continued to struggle with the expectations of their society. Their role was always defined and their expectations were underlined. Their rights, on the other hand, were limited. Real power and influence were nonexistent for women. Sure, there were exceptions. Women who somehow through the help of their husband's voice and influence could be heard. Eventually women could own property and enjoy themselves, but they did not have real influence or power.The Mesopotamian women in the same way as the Roman and Greek women possessed far fewer privileges and rights than men. The women's place was at home. She was expected to be able to bear and raise children. Men could divorce her if she could not have children or if she did not perform her household tasks up to his standards. While the husband could have sexual relationships with other females, his wife was expected to be faithful to her husband. If a wife was caught cheating on her husband, she was pitched into the river.Women in Sparta had more freedom of movement and greater power in the household than any other women living in Greece. This was mainly caused by the absence of their husbands who served in the military and were living in the barracks until age thirty. Spartan women were expected to exercise, remain healthy and be fit in order to bear and raise healthy children. The women were expected to do their athletic exercises in nude. The same expectation was placed on males. Women were strict when it came to Spartan values, which involved great skills in war. They expected their husbands and sons to be brave in war and not to be ashamed to die for Sparta. The textbook presents an example of a Spartan mother who sends her son to war "by telling him to come back carrying his shield or be carried on it." In Athens women were excluded from public life, but could participate in the majority of religious cults and festivals. They did not own property beyond personal items. Married or not all women had a male guardian. The guardian could have been a husband, a father or a male relative. In some cases it could be a son if the husband past away. There were strict expectations placed on the Athenian women. Their role and obligation was to bear children, especially male children in order to preserve the family line. The wife would take care of the whole household or supervise the slaves to do so. According to Xenophon women did the all the work that needed to be done indoors and supervised the servants to do the outdoor tasks. The reasons behind this were that women were incapable of enduring cold, heat, journeys and campaigns. So the house was the place for them. The women learned their responsibilities at an early age due to the fact that they got married at fourteen or fifteen. Most women could read and write, even play some musical instruments, but they were not given an opportunity to get a formal education. The women's place was to be at home...

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