Despite the fact that the dominant position in the family in ancient Egypt was held by the man, his wife, who gave birth and raised children, was considered to be no less important member of the family, as she was the one who preserved, and at times increased wealth of the family, as well as sustained procreation.
The main function of women, of course, was procreation. There is available evidence that the marriages were entered into often at the behest of couple`s parents or masters, however from the lyrical verses scholars became aware that young people enjoyed a large freedom and were able to marry for love. We practically know nothing about wedding ceremonies. Typically, after the main marriage ceremony families of both sides were feasting to the best of their financial capabilities.
Monogamy was the Egyptians` main form of marriage. However, unlike woman, whose infidelity was punishable by death, her husband was allowed to have concubines in the house. There were cases of polygamy, but they were not numerous among ordinary Egyptians – usually only pharaohs had harems with enormous number of hetaeras.
In Egypt, where a stick has played a significant role, a husband had the right to beat his wife, and a brother – his sister, but within reasonable limits: any injury was punishable by law. The offender had to swear in front of judges, that he will no longer touch his wife; otherwise he received 100 lashes and was deprived of the jointly acquired property.
Images of the pharaohs remaining on the walls of temples and tombs show an apparent slenderness and elegance of women in those days. The secret of this, most likely, lies in the fact that women, representatives of the middle and lower strata of ancient Egyptian society, were actively working alongside with men, and their normal diet did not contain a lot of fat.
As we see, women in the Ancient Egypt had those opportunities, which were unknown to women living in many countries of that ages (what is more, even in some contemporary societies): to work alongside with men, to have property in a possession, to inherit it, to trade, to defend their rights in courts. However, the facts show that there was no equality between men and women in ancient Egypt. Despite the fact, that women could not become scientists, artists, authors, a social status of women in ancient Egypt was relatively high, as we have ascertained from the facts above mentioned.
Graves-Brown, C. “Dancing for Hathor: Women in Ancient Egypt”. London: Continuum, 2010. Print
Picone, P. “The Status of Women in Ancient Egyptian Society”. Virtual Egypt.com. n.d.. Web. 27 Sep. 2013