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Gender Roles and Equality in Han Chinese Dynasty and Augustan Roman Empire

The Han Chinese dynasty and Augustan Roman Empire had comparable similarities between its familial structures and treatments of women within society. Although, in Rome the women had many of the same privileges and rights as men had while in China, the women were always second class citizens, compared to men. In Rome, the lines drawn between male and female rights were less rigid. Women in Rome had more rights and privileges than the women in China because they were able to hold property, obtain divorce, and participate in religious activities. Men in China always had to take care of their subordinate female family members, while in Rome, mens legal rights to their daughters estates died when they did.

Roman women had a somewhat high place and value in society and the family life, but were still secondary to men. Roman women had the ability to hold property, inherit dowry, and get a divorce once the legal control over the women ended when her father died (Duiker, 143)). Women also had the ability to get educated and employed, even before the legal control disappeared. But, in comparison to men womens second class status was always there in the jobs they were able to work, the level of education they received, the extent to which they could control property, and handle their own money. If a woman was married in Roman society, the legal control would most often pass to her husband, unless she obtained a divorce. Women could get a divorce if her husband mistreated her, committed adultery, stole from her, or forced her to commit adultery (Duiker, 155). Men in Rome also couldnt ban the women from participating in religious services.

Womens rights in China were unheard of compared to the rights of men. When a female child was born they were placed under the crib as a sign of subordination to the males in the

household (Duiker, 63). Confucius Analects also never mentioned women, and at the time Confucianism was the main philosophy that governed the society and gender roles in China. Since Confucian put women behind men, focusing on how the head of the family will always be male, families and society did the same. When a woman married, the responsibility of her became the husbands instead of her fathers, she was never allowed to take care of herself. Women couldnt have jobs outside the home as it was their responsibility to take care of the children, tend the home. They were also uneducated in everything except cooking, cleaning, child-rearing, and anything to do with the home.

Men in Chinas roles were much different then mens roles in Rome. Once the father of a mans wife died, the wife was no longer his full responsibility, because she inherited property and had a way to make her own money off of it. In China, since the women were uneducated, never owned property, and were always controlled by a man, men were always taking care of the women in their families, and were always responsible for them. Men in both societies were educated, worked manual labor, could hold positions in government, and own land.

Women and mens roles in Han Chinese dynasty and the Augustan Roman Empire were similar in familial life and societal roles but had its numerable differences. Men were equal in both societies, while women were always second class citizens regardless of their social status. Although, women in Roman societies were better off than the women in China because of all the privileges they had and were able to receive.