The theme of this textbook is to discuss the role of women and their effect on every aspect of the world. The women had varied roles to play, were an important part of the society. They had the power to change the very foundation of society, collectively and of creating a common link between the world. The very inherent thought behind choosing this theme is the fascinating effect the role of women had on the whole world, and not just a specific country. The womenfolk constituted the home, their role was usually indoors, but they changed the course of looking at society, and this textbook aims to reveal that. The women had a single aim to keep her home and family well to do. However, this simple idea had far-reaching consequences in the overall development of human kind in the history. Since many women took this simple idea, and changed the course of history by their leadership and force of character. For some women, the love for family extended to a whole
kingdom, and they proved brilliant queens in their rule. The women were dominated by the male-ruled society, and had little worth mostly. But even then many women changed the course of history. The role of women in context to home as well as their great achievements is penned here. The relevance of the role of women in world society is as important as the blood in our veins. Neither can be separated from the other. So, the study aims at providing such an important link that connects every region together.
There are some criticisms about the topic chosen. Some say that there are entire civilizations to be studied, and discussed. Some say that the topic is too specific, and that women, as a part of world history, are not important enough to be discussed as a textbook topic. The points can be refuted by showing, on the contrary, how important women were in the sketch of world history.
The concept of the role of women, way back since the beginning of society to 1450CE, was as important as the progression of civilization. They acted as the role of the homemaker, the perfect wife, the adoring mother. However, they were deprived from education. Men went out to work, but women, in spite of having better minds in some cases, had to stay in and milk cows and cook meals. In the civilizations like Indus Valley, the role of women was completely domestic. They
participated in some public ceremonies, but mostly had no say in anything worthwhile. However, in civilizations like the Egyptian civilization, women had equality and respect, just like their male counterparts. They did manual work, and had monetary stability. In fact, in Egypt, women had roles in ruling over the kingdom as well. There were many female monarchs. While entire civilizations can be studied; the women aren’t apart from the civilization. The people constitute a civilization, and thus if we analyze the role of women, we are interpreting civilization perfectly. The topic is not too specific. In fact, it is diverse because the way women were treated differed from civilization to civilization. There wasn’t an uniformity in the roles of women, and the textbook aims to unravel the roles of women in different cultures. Thus, it is an important topic of discussion.To interpret how world history had different representations of women in different cultures is the winning point of the theme.
The chapters in this theme are divided into:
Chapter 1: The role of women in the Indus Valley Civilization
Chapter 2: The role of women in the Egyptian civilization
Chapter 3: The significance and differences in the lives of women in world history
Chapter 1 discusses the role of women in the Indus Valley Civilization. The Indus Civilization was based in Asia, and is one of the oldest civilizations based around sites called Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa. The women in this society had clear cut roles to perform, and these included grinding flour, cooking meals, taking care of the household. The women were often referred to as “duhitirs”, meaning ones who milk cows. The men could receive land and education. The men also had the advantage of participating in council meetings. They took part in council discussions and made decisions for the society, at large. The women had no role in the councils, and the few public ceremonies they participated in were mostly with their fathers, or husbands. Women were respected, for their dedication to household. There are many female deities in the Indus Valley Civilization. So, it is clear that women, even if they didn’t have rights, had respect. They were considered delicate enough to face the rough world outside, and thus were left to be protected by male members. But, in terms of equality, the gender roles in the Indus Valley Civilization hold a sorry picture. Chapter 1 focuses on these.
Chapter 2 deals with the role of women in another civilized society. This society is the ancient Egyptian society. The Egyptians believed in the equality of both the genders. Thus, they had both the male and female genders participate in the same
kind of work. Women were even trained in military activities, and were skilled warriors. The women folk even participated in trade and business, and openly
operated market regulations. The men, in some cases, took care of household activities, and the women went out to earn. The women had immense strength of character, and had equal pay for equal work like their male counterparts. The women even ruled the entire kingdom, and participated in civil activities. Queen Hetepheres II saw to the civil services of Egypt. Women were appointed as judges, governors and prime ministers.
Egypt's first female ruler Neithikret, who was hailed for her bravery and beauty, alike.The next woman Pharaoh was Sobeknefru. Hatshepsut, initiated military campaigns, and built beautiful monuments, including the temple at Deir el-Bahari. The most celebrated Egyptian ruler was Cleopatra, who remains famous even today, for all her exceedingly excellent achievements.
The women who stayed indoors, had a luxurious life. They had their clothes made of linen, ate exotic dishes, and drank rich wine. They had toilettes, and makeup accessories. They had expensive jewellery to adorn their bodies, and slaves to serve them 24 hours.
Chapter 3 discusses aspects like Social, Economic and Political effects of the differences in the lives of women in different civilizations. The society of Egypt had clear-cut divisions that men and women were to be treated at par. They were educated, given right to land and property, etc. On the contrary, the women in Indus Civilization had no right to money, or knowledge. They were loved and cared for, but kept in the background. Economically, the Egyptian women had greater independence, and earned as much as the males. They practiced almost all professions, and did them with élan. The Indus Valley women had no professions, except for taking care of household chores. Politically, the women in Egypt had significant hold over the entire country, whereas the women in Indus didn’t even have a say in petty matters of the society.
The differences encompass that the roles of women fluctuated across same time zones. The societies differed very much in their conceptions, and ideas. However, world history was majorly affected. The women constituted a major part of the society, and their plights and pleasures have etched themselves out for further generations to follow. Unless we knew how women were treated in our continent before, how could we ensure that we would give them a better future now? The past has to be studied to make the future progressive. The role of Egyptian women
made us realize women are as capable as men, and need to be given fair treatment. The Indus women showed us that women were treated as damsels, and they were good at housework. The different perceptions helped us shape our opinion, and thus this theme is successful as a study of world history.