THE STATUS OF WOMEN FROM THE CRADLE OF CIVILIZATION TO THE CIVILIZATION OF THE MIDDLE EAST
Gender in the Middle East was a very charged subject, it is very important to consider: the evolution of rights, the difference in family, or the role of Sharia (Islamic laws)
Women of the ancient middle east were treated very differently than the women of today. Men had more rights than women. Women rights were different in each state-city. Most women were allowed to go out to the marketplaces, buy and sell, attend to legal matters if their husbands were absent, own their own property, borrow and lend, and engage in business for themselves.
Women that held a high status as priestess or a member from a royal family usually received the chance to learn to read and write. They were also usually given a considerable administrative authority. Most priestesses became as highly educated as any male priest or member of the scribal class.
Women had only a few rights under Hebrew law. They gained respect through the commandment “honor thy father and thy mother.” Hebrews also honored special women. They honored the ptophet Deborah, who according to the old testament, led the Hebrews to a victory against their enemies in Palestine.
Almost half of the population of women in Babylon, were slaves. The slaves of queens were buried with the queen when she passed away. The majority of the women slaves were domestic and craft producing workers.
Queen Shagshad administered the temple of the Goddess Bau. She employed between 1000 and 1200 people per year, consisting of mostly women. These women had many different jobs. Around one hundred and fifty were slaves. These slaves did work such as spinning, wool working, brewing, milling, and kitchen work. There was one female singer and several musicians along with her. About six women grounded grain for feeding the pigs. A few of the women were nurses and nurse maids. One of the women was a hairdresser.