The Position of Women in Pharaonic Egypt

The Position of Women in Pharaonic Egypt


Ms. Yasmin Hussein Al-Muslim.

Preparing for a Master’s degree in Egyptian Archeology – Cairo University

Director of a Technical Office for Antiquities Restoration.



Egyptian women in the Pharaonic era enjoyed many rights and were worthy of appreciation, as equality between men and women was taken into account. The Egyptian lady of the ancient world obtained what a woman did not obtain in the ancient world. Women had some private properties and lands that they managed themselves, which led to them enjoying a kind of financial and economic independence. They had the right to file lawsuits on their own, as she represented a witness before the judiciary when she requested her testimony, and was punished if she committed any crime. Thus, we can say that the woman was a member of the ancient Egyptian society, responsible and worthy of respect, where the Egyptian woman, in contrast to her counterpart in the Greek and Roman society, if her life was full of severe restrictions and always living under the custody of the man; a father, brother or husband took care of her and spent on her … It is worth noting that one of the written sources confirms that a woman once participated in a village court for one time, and there is another rare case of the participation of two women with three men in a judicial council, and these cases were rare, representing exceptional cases imposed by a situation that requires the presence of a woman who understands women’s affairs, especially in personal status cases!

It is certain that women participated in the construction of the pyramids, as we found many women burials in the tombs of the builders of the pyramids without a husband or son. This indicates that they were working in the clothing industry. We have already uncovered the tomb of a lady with a nickname that refers to her work in baking bread for the workers.

Yet, the most important characteristic of women is that they obtained more rights than women in medieval Europe. However, we must mention that the divine law did not give the woman the right to rule Egypt, but only the man had the right to rule. At the same time, the man could not rule without the woman because Isis, the faithful wife, built the Nile with her tears. She was the wife of the king who ruled and the mother of the next king, so all these rights were given to the woman. Anyone who changed this divine decision was exposed to the anger of the people, as happened when Queen “Hatshepsut” who took power despite the divine prophecy that proved that she was the daughter of “Amon” and resembled men except that after her death, the people completely destroyed her monuments. As for the queens who ruled, they sat on the throne in weakness ages. The rule did not hold for only a few years… Therefore, we will see in the end that the woman prepared her house completely, so she became a “house wife”. She raised her children and she also became a judge or a doctor… In fact, a woman is the mistress of the old world.


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