Museum displays parity of women in ancient Egypt
Like many a bumbling tourist, this traveler was perplexed by the unexpected. People dressed differently, ate differently, wrote differently, did everything differently. The river flowed not from north to south but from south to north.
But what was most perplexing to the fifth century BC Greek historian Herodotus when he visited Egypt was the role of women. “Women attend market and are employed in trade, while men stay at home and do the weaving,” he wrote.
The Egyptians, he concluded, “in their manners and customs seem to have reversed the ordinary practices of mankind.”
The women of ancient Egypt—the mighty and the modest—were considered equal to men, said Egyptologist Valentina Santini. “They could divorce. They could own property. They had many rights that women in subsequent civilizations didn’t have.”