In ancient Egypt, women were not equal with men,
but they had many rights, considerably more rights than did women in other
One of their rights was the right to
decide if they wished to marry or not. If a man asked a
woman to marry him, she could say no. A woman in ancient Egypt
could not be forced into marriage. Those who did marry usually
married quite young, around age 12-14.
Once married, a woman's first duty
was to be a good wife and mother. Children were very important to
the ancient Egyptians.
Along with raising the children and
running the household, women were free to get a paid job outside the
home if they wanted one. They could run a business. They could own,
buy, and sell property. They could make a will and leave their
personal goods to whomever they chose, including their daughters.
If any woman broke the law, she
had go to court and defend herself from the charge, just like
One of the biggest rights a woman had
was the right of divorce. If a woman was unhappy with her marriage,
she could get a divorce, and then remarry someone else or remain
To be granted a divorce, a woman
needed to present a good reason in a court of law.
If her divorce
was granted, she gained custody of the children, plus all
of her original dowry if one was brought to the marriage - or its
equivalent worth - plus one-third of her husband's wealth. This was
done so that she could raise her children comfortably. She also took
with her any property she personally owned, including property that
had been willed to her during her marriage.
Men could also get a divorce, but, if
granted, women still gained custody of her children, her original
dowry, and a big chunk of his wealth.
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