November 29th, 2016
Guest writer for Wake Up World
Throughout almost all recorded history, and in most cultures throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia, there has been a massive gulf between men and women. They have had a very different social status, sharply differentiated roles and apparently different personalities. It’s almost as if men and women have been members of different species with almost nothing in common, who have been thrown together to by mistake.
In almost all cases women’s status has been and still is in many cultures much lower than men’s. It was taken for granted that women were inferior intellectually and morally; that they were, in the words of the misogynistic philosopher Schopenhauer, ‘childish, foolish and short-sighted something intermediate between the child and the man.’ Until recent times, in most countries over Europe, the Middle East and Asia, women couldn’t own property or inherit land and wealth, and were frequently treated as mere property themselves. In some countries they could be confiscated by money lenders or tax collectors to help settle debts (this was, for example, a common practice in Japan from the seventh century CE onwards). In the ‘enlightened’ society of ancient Greece where the concept of democracy supposedly originated women had no property or political rights, and were forbidden to leave their homes after dark. Similarly, in ancient Rome women unable to take part in social events (except as employed ‘escort girls’) and were only allowed to leave their homes with their husband or a male relative.
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