The History of Women essay

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The place of woman appears to have been compromised somewhere along the historical path. This is because the ancient Greek society seemed to have more appropriately defined the place of the woman than it had been in the society today. Several pieces of literature obtained from the Gortyn Code of Law suggest that the woman had a greater social standing around 450 BC than they had globally in the 20th century and well into the 21st century. In fact, up to this point in the global history some parts of the world still see a woman as a subject rather than a significant player in the political as well as the economic aspects of our society. As a matter of fact, it appears that the social independence that women previously enjoyed in Greece was lost somewhere along the way. Beginning from their rights for domestic inheritance, subjects of dowry exchanges to the ability to own property, the momentum seems to have been lost if the current efforts geared to woman emancipation is anything to go by. This paper takes a critical look at the situation in the world today and contrasts it to what we had in the ancient Greek society. Moreover, the paper will attempt to propose measures that would help implement some of the legal statutes of the Greek world (Davies J).

The Greek world seems to have been firmer on sexual offences than most societies of the world today. According to their legal system, a person who was found to have raped a woman was held accountable by having to part with up to a considerable number of staters. Although the number of starters to be paid depended on the social status of the women, the idea had some clear message that every member of the society must be entitled to some dignity. Moreover, the Romans gave women a special place in the society. They often went to perilous wars in which people would be killed en masse. However, Romulus would thereafter send messengers to the neighboring empires to seek marital alliances with their women in an attempt to ensure continuity. If this succeeded, the community would give the women great respect and love so they would stay behind. This is quite a contrast to this time in age where the women are treated with contempt. For instance, in some ethnic groups in Eastern Africa, domestic violence is still the norm as it serves as a proof of the manhood of the husband. The legal institutions operating in these regions have often cited cultural as the major hindrance to their campaigns against domestic violence which means that the social system itself is a rot. According to United Nation reports, the women in those countries are in most not able to distinguish between consensual sex and rape as the culture naturally requires them to submit to their husbands. Essentially, they look at the situation helplessly as they have no chance of determining their sexual life especially in the wake of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. (Davies, 1996)

The idea of disposition of property in the situation of a divorce looks more controversial today than it must have been in the ancient Greek society. Although some parts of the world have made tremendous efforts at ensuring equity, an equally significant portion has not shed off the cultural tag of male superiority. In the Gortyn Law Code that regulated the ancient Greeks, the woman would remain with a significant amount of wealth that was created in the crumbling family. In particular, she would keep property including but not limited to what she personally brought into the marriage, half the property that she acquired during the time she was in the marriage as well as five staters if the husband was found to have been the cause of the marital break-up. There is no doubt that many countries have stable legal systems to enforce such laws. However, a global consideration of the idea gives quite a gloomy picture because the women are often denied access to the family property in case of a divorce. This is often either direct or indirect depending on the social technicalities. For instance, a cultural setting that considers the place of the woman to be at the kitchen technically denies them the opportunity to have anything to inherit in case of a divorce. This kind of culture seeks to keep the woman dependent on the husband so they can avoid at all costs any attempts at seeking a divorce. Looking at the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, men equally had their share of the hardship. In the building of castles, for instance, poor men were greatly oppressed. However, this has since changed although oppression on women remains as firm. Clearly, the women have had a raw deal at the benefit of the male counterparts who are treated with more respect (Davies, 1996).

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