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Women in Ancient Egypt

By Edited Oct 12, 2015 1 2

Ever wondered what was life like on our planet thousands of years ago? I think many people do sometimes. And Egyptian civilization is known to be one of the oldest. Here, I'm writing about an important side of it, which is women's life and status at those times.

Long time ago, more than 5000 years into history, the ancient Egyptian Women were ahead of their times in many aspects, they were treated better than many of the other major civilizations of the ancient world, and even better than some of today's women. They had respect, power, and many legal rights that women today in some countries are still trying to obtain.

Politics in Egypt played an important role regarding women being legally equal to men, because at the old dynasties politics determined social classes and status, so it was not really a gender difference that matters these days, it was all about the social class of the family or the person.

Concerning the laws women had the same rights as men in many areas, such as the right to be financially independent from the husband, the right to be a Pharaoh (of course in royal families only), and the right to initiate divorce procedures if that is what she wants.

In marriage, ancient Egyptians believed in loving and sharing relationships, and men used to respect their wives a lot and share everything with them. Historical records show that adultery was forbidden and it was punishable by law. Only kings were allowed to have several wives, but the tradition for the rest of people was to marry one wife.

When checking the clothes of women at those times, women used to wear conservative clothes made of linen because that was the material used at these times for all clothes. The costume that was popular used to be a sheath made of a rectangle piece of cloth folded once and sewn down the edge to make a tube, or a robe style that could be worn in various ways.

Something that is for sure strange today is that the most important part of their accessories was the black wig, which served as a way to protect their natural hair from the sun or the cold weather. These wigs differed according to the woman or the family status in society, and contrary to our times, they used to be proud to show their wigs not to hide it.

An important part of most women daily life, which is cosmetics, was also very important for those women, they were really into taking care of their beauty, they bathed several times a day, and used herbs and perfumes in their bath, along with some animals extracts such as crocodiles, which is said to have benefits for the skin and hair. A famous example is Cleopatra, who used to bath in milk plus herbs and was famous for her sexy perfumes. There are many Spas today that are called "Cleopatra Bath".

They used a lot of eye makeup and of course we will never forget that they are the inventers for "Kohl", which today is called eyeliner, and they also used Red ocher for the lips and cheeks. Everything at those times came from nature, they had no chemicals in any of these things.
One of the special things that they used to smell nice (for both women and men) was that they wore special scented cones above their heads to keep the nice smell in the hot and humid weather.
All in all, they were respected and loved, and they did not have the struggles of today's world (except of course for women Pharaohs).



Nov 11, 2010 4:47am
funny to see this, knowing first hand how the situation has changed for women nowadays in Egypt...
Nov 11, 2010 11:45am
You're right, because for the last century women did not have enough rights in Egypt. But thank God it's changing to the better now. Men started to complain.
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