Different from most ancient societies, Egyptian women were practically equal with Egyptian men. They enjoyed a lot of the same rights as men. Legal and economic rights were given to both men and women. Publicly and privately a woman’s role was of great importance. But, it was indeed a male- dominated society. It was essential that the wife create a home, care for the children and generally run the household. In general an Egyptian woman was free to go out in public when ever she pleased.
She was allowed to live life as a single woman, without male guardians. Lower class women were mostly committed to staying at home and taking care of their children. Wealthier women, on the other hand had a chance to pick their careers. Some chose to be priestesses, hairdressers, or even make-up artist. In fact, other than being a housewife, the most common career for a woman was priesthood. Due to the size and strength of a woman, she only had a certain range of jobs available to her.
She was married at the age when the men were starting their job training. A wife could become her husband’s manager from time to time. For example, if a husband was gone, she could take charge of his business for him. When a high-class woman got bored, a religious position such as a priestess for a certain god or goddess was encouraged. Egyptian women also had a lot of financial independence. Women even received the same pay as men for the same job. Some royal women controlled the treasury and owned their own land and workshops.
Even some non-royal women could purchase and own property and slaves. She could also sell her property and slaves as she wished. Egyptian women had many legal freedoms. She could make all the same legal arrangements as men. Egyptian women could inherit. A woman could make her own will and even chose which children would inherit. She could decide in marriage, divorce, adoptions and even self-enslavement. An Egyptian woman was also allowed the right to sue. Another major roll an Egyptian woman was allowed to play was that of pharaoh.
No other ancient civilization allowed a woman to rule with absolute power or without the aid of a husband. However, it is thought that if a woman did become pharaoh it was most likely because she had the help of a very important man. It is acknowledged that there have been at least six women who have ruled as pharaoh. Some of the women who ruled as pharaoh tried to ensure that they would be remembered as well as the men who ruled as pharaoh, and many of them were. In conclusion, Egyptian women had a free life, compared to women f that era in other lands. She wasn’t a feminist, but she could have power and position if she was in the right class. She could hold down a job, or be a mother if she chose. She could live by herself or with her family. She could buy and sell to her hearts content. She could follow the latest fashions or learn to write if she had the chance. She loved and laughed and ate and drank. She helped her husband, and ran her household. She was an ancient Egyptian woman with hopes and dreams of her own… not too much different from the woman of today.