Women had a significant role through history whether they were rulers, inventors, artists or having a religious power. They may not equal to men in lots of aspects but they manage to make the most use of their corporation in society to make a big difference. Ancient Egypt was one of the most civilized cultures in history, they had huge advances in science, medicine and clearly politics. It had an urban society in which women had huge part haven’t seen in any other civilization, they were incorporated at a high level as they participated as the ruler of huge civilization ruled great land. They also participated as ministers for different fields. Unlike other civilization women’s role wasn’t exclusive to maternity or meeting the needs of their husbands. They even had their rights as wives which haven’t seen much back then
The Role of Women in Ancient Egypt
In such an advanced civilization, women had the right to participate in society at all levels whether religion, politics and nearly all fields of work. There is not much known about the role of women in the Early Dynastic Period but through the First and Second Intermediate Periods, the New Kingdom, and certainly during the Ptolemaic Period women’s role was very clear due to the huge difference they had back in the history.
Women who ruled ancient Egypt had the most important impact on that civilization and some of them managed to make huge differences in society. From religion to politics as Queen Nefertiti, religious participation was the second important place women were included in. Priesthood women had much impact in society back then, however, this role was prohibited only to the higher rank female who came from remarkable families and dynasties.
Women who played that part were exempt from taxes, they also had the right to own a part of the land by their name. The last class or category was working women, they had the opportunity to participate in the work field other than being only wives or mothers.
They were helping their husbands in work besides housework, some of them participated in works that known as suitable only for men like making furniture and tents.
The Rights of Women in Ancient Egypt
Besides having that much space in society from practicing in different kinds of roles and parts, women also had the right in choosing their future husbands or the men they want to spend their lives with. Women also had the right in inheritance which may not be noticed in many old civilizations, these females also had the right in divorce in case they don’t want to continue in their marriage.
After divorcing women were able to keep their own property and children as well, besides having the right to marry again. Unlike many societies, women in ancient Egypt had the right to having affairs in the absence of their husbands.
Some of The Most Significant Women in Ancient Egypt
Hatshepsut wasn’t only an important effective woman in history, but also was one of the most significant people in the 15th century through Egypt. She ruled the civilization through one of its most critical periods after the Hyksos ruled and destroyed the country for a large time.
Hatshepsut was the granddaughter of Pharaoh Amenhotep I and she managed to rule Egypt after her husband’s death to become the fifth pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty in 1478 BCE. The female ruler managed to gain more victory and gain Egypt more power through her time by enlarging the army and building more ships. She also didn’t neglect art and culture which played a big role in society so she managed to build and direct more expositions.
The great ruler also handed more power to other women in society by incorporating skilled and talented females in various governmental capacities. Because of her wisdom and intelligence, Egypt had major power and presence in the international arena.
She was recognized as a queen and a king by her people due to the power and huge impact she had on the society, that is why most of the statues portray her as a man with a beard.
Tiye was the queen of Amenhotep III, she didn’t manage to rule or being known as a pharaoh but she indeed had much impact on Egypt through the period of Amenhotep III rule. That is because of the help she provided to the king by modeling his thinking about stuff related to politics and religion.
Nefertiti was the queen of Ankenaten who was the son of Amenhotep III and Tiye, she was managing the regime through her husband’s ruling period as she is known for her cleverness and regenerated thoughts. Nefertiti and her husband changed the shape of Egypt through their ruling time. They created a revolution in religion as they worshiped a new god known as Aten besides promoting a new style of artwork which completely different from what ancient Egypt had before.
Nefertari was another woman that didn’t have the chance or capabilities to rule through Ancient Egypt. Though she was a very significant example of how men appreciate their wives and give them equal rights in an era that wasn’t a common thing back then.
She was the queen and wife of Ramesses II who gave her a statue that as big as the Pharaoh statue which appears at Abu Simbel. This was a very rare thing that happened back in that civilization, that reflected back on the status of women in society and boosted their role back then.
Cleopatra was the most significant rulers and woman through the Polemic or Greek period of Egypt. She was a well-educated woman who was schooled in politics, science, and medicine besides speaking six languages including Greek, ancient Egypt language, Aramaic, Ethiopic, Hebrew, and Latin.
Cleopatra came from a family of Macedonian Greek origin and she participated in the regime with her father Ptolemy XII Auletes and her two brothers Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV. She married Ptolemy XIII at the age of eighteen due to her father’s will, but she kept all the ruling authorities to herself. She even dropped her brother’s name from all the official documents and removed his face from the currency.
She empowered the army and managed to wide her authority over other parts outside ancient Egypt, unfortunately, all her efforts and achievements went away after her death when Egypt was conquered by the Romans.