History of women's rights See also: Legal rights of women in history and Timeline of women's rights (other than voting) China The status of women In China was low, largely due to the custom of foot binding. About 45% of Chinese women had bound feet in the 19th century. For the upper classes, it was almost 100%. In 1912, the Chinese government ordered the cessation of foot-binding. Foot-binding Involved alteration of the bone structure so that the feet were only about 4 inches long.
The bound feet caused difficulty of movement, thus greatly limiting the activities of women. Due to the social custom that men and omen should not be near to one another, the women of China were reluctant to be treated by male doctors of Western Medicine. This resulted in a tremendous need for female doctors of Western Medicine in China. Thus, female medical missionary Dr. Mary H. Fulton (1854-1927) was sent by the Foreign Missions Board of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to found the first medical college for women in China.
Known as the Hackett Medical College for Women this College was located In Guangzhou, China, and was enabled by a large donation from Mr. Edward A. K. Hackett (1851-1916) of Indiana, USA. The College was aimed at the spreading of Christianity and modern medicine and the elevation of Chinese women's social Greece The status of women in ancient Greece varied form city state to city state. Records exist of women in ancient Delphi, Gortyn, Thessaly, Megara and Sparta owning land, the most prestigious form of private property at the tlme.  In ancient Athens. omen had no legal personhood and were assumed to be part of the oikos headed by the male kyrios. Until marriage, women were under the guardianship of their father or other male relative. once married the husband became a woman's kyrlos. As omen were barred from conducting legal proceedings, the kyrios would do so on their behalf.  Athenian women had limited right to property and therefore were not considered full citizens, as citizenship and the entitlement to civil and political rights was defined in relation to property and the means to life. 10] However, women could acquire rights over property through gifts, dowry and inheritance, though her kyrios had the right to dispose of a woman's property Athenian women could enter into a contract worth less than the value of a "medimnos of barley' (a measure of grain), allowing women to engage in petty trading. 9] Slaves, like women, were not eligible for full citizenship In ancient Athens, though In rare circumstances they could become citizens if freed. The only permanent barrier to citizenship, and hence full political and civil rights, in ancient Athens was gender.
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No women ever acquired citizenship In ancient Athens, and therefore women were excluded In principle and practice from ancient Athenian democracy.  By contrast, Spartan women enjoyed a status, power, and respect that was unknown in the rest of the classical world. Although Spartan women were formally excluded from military and political life they njoyed considerable status as mothers of Spartan warriors. As men engaged in military activity, women took responsibility for running estates. Following protracted and 40% of all Spartan land and By the Hellenistic Period, some of the wealthiest Spartans were women.
The unique thing about Patria Potestas was that it ad no age limits, according to Gaius a man could be consul, have a wife and children of his own and future prominence but as long as his father was alive was still under his potestas (power) and so could own nothing. Patria Potestas only ended with either the death of the father, or emancipation by him. Early in the Republic Manus Marriage ended the potestas for women, but during the middle and later Republic that form of marriage became rare, eventually disappearing completely.
Marriage Under Law Rome had only two forms of marriage, and both had exactly the opposite view of legal effects. Manus Marriage was the earlier form of marriage and placed the woman under her husband's manus legally standing in the position of a daughter. Under this type of marriage women could own nothing, and had little if any legal protections. On the other hand a woman assumed the position of her husband's daughter in Manus Marriage making her agnatically instead of cognatically related to Manus, and was the opposite of Manus.
Women married Sine Manu experienced no legal changes, so if her father was alive at time of marriage she continued to be his dependent and before the reign of Marcus Aurelius he could even force an end to he marriage. The lack of any legal change of status for the women meant that (provided their father had either died or emancipated them) they could own property, conduct most forms of business, and divorce her husband (without any reason needed). Legally speaking the only lack of independence a woman in Rome experienced in a marriage without Manus was from her father.
The only legal issue related to marriage was dowry. A dowry was not required by law, but was usually provided by a father or if a father was nonexistent it would be whatever the bride wished to come out of her own estate. It was administered by the husband, but in the vent of a divorce he was required to provide either the dowry or the equivalent of it back to his wife. In the case of adultery, husbands got to keep portions of the dowry. Politics Legally speaking women were banned from politics.
As with freedmen and slaves of the Imperial Family women of the imperial family gained some benefits from the fall of the Republic, but because the nature of the Principate was to hide dictatorship such power had to be subtle and kept out of the public eye when possible. The ban on women and politics was they could not vote or run for office (sine suffragio) enlist n the army, or represent somebody else in court, women speaking their minds was not considered politics and so some women like Hortensia managed to make appearances in politics without violating the law.
Inheritance Rights Everyone under the potestas of another had equal rights of inheritance under Roman Law, and wills that did otherwise ran risks of being challenged and invalidated as negligent. Stoic Influence Stoic philosophies had a strong effect on the development of law in ancient Rome. The Roman stoic thinkers Seneca and Musonius Rufus developed theories of Just elationships (not to be confused with equality in society, or even equality) arguing that nature gives men and women equal capacity for virtue and equal obligations to act virtuously (a vague concept).
Therefore they argued that men and women have an equal need for philosophical education.  Stoic theories entered Roman law first through the Roman lawyer and senator Marcus Tullius Cicero and the influence of stoicism and philosophy increased while the status of women improved under the Empire.  Religious scriptures Bible See Women in the Bible "Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. (Genesis 3:20) "Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. " Oudges 4:4) God chose a woman, Deborah, to lead Israel.
Qur'an The neutrality of this article is disputed. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved. feminism, and Sex segregation and Islam The Qur'an, revealed to Muhammad over the course of 23 years, provide guidance to the Islamic community and modified existing customs in Arab society. From 610 and 661, known as the early reforms under Islam, the Qur'an introduced fundamental reforms to customary law and ntroduced rights for women in marriage, divorce and inheritance.
By providing that the wife, not her family, would receive a dowry from the husband, which she could administer as her personal property, the Qur'an made women a legal party to the marriage contract.  While in customary law inheritance was limited to male descendents, the Qur'an introduced rules on inheritance with certain fixed shares being distributed to designated heirs, first to the nearest female relatives and then the nearest male relatives. 22] According to Annemarie Schimmel "compared to he pre-lslamic position of women, Islamic legislation meant an enormous progress; the woman has the right, at least according to the letter of the law, to administer the wealth she has brought into the family or has earned by her own work. " The general improvement of the status of Arab women included prohibition of female infanticide and recognizing women's full personhood.  Women were generally given greater rights than women in pre-lslamic Arabia and medieval Europe.  Women were not accorded with such legal status in other cultures until centuries later. 28] According to Professor William Montgomery Watt, when seen in uch historical context, Muhammad "can be seen as a fgure who testified on behalf of women's rights. " The Middle Ages According to English Common Law, which developed from the 12th century onward, all property which a wife held at the time of a marriage became a possession of her husband. Eventually English courts forbade a husband's transferring property without the consent of his wife, but he still retained the right to manage it and to receive the money which it produced.
French married women suffered from restrictions on their legal capacity which were removed only in 1965.  In the 16th entury, the Reformation in Europe allowed more women to add their voices, including the English writers Jane Anger, Aemilia Lanyer, and the prophetess Anna Trapnell. English and American Quakers believed that men and women were equal. Many Quaker women were preachers.  Despite relatively greater freedom for Anglo-Saxon women, until the mid-19th century, writers largely assumed that a patriarchal order was a natural order that had always existed. 32] This perception was not seriously challenged until the 18th century when Jesuit missionaries found matrilineality in native North American peoples.  18th and 19th century Europe The Debutante (1807) by Henry Fuseli; The woman, victim of male social conventions, is tied to the wall, made to sew and guarded by governesses. The picture reflects Mary Wollstonecraft's views in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, published in 1792.  Starting in the late 18th century, and throughout the 19th century, rights, as a concept and claim, gained increasing political, social and philosophical importance in Europe.
Movements emerged which demanded freedom of religion, the abolition of slavery, rights for women, rights for those who did not own property and universal to political debates in both France and Britain. At the time some of the greatest thinkers of the Enlightenment, who defended democratic principles of equality and challenged notions that a privileged few should rule over the vast majority of the population, believed that these principles should be applied only to their own gender and their own race.
The philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau for example thought that it was the order of nature for woman to obey men. He wrote "Women do wrong to complain of the inequality of man-made laws" and claimed that "when she tries to usurp our rights, she is our First page of the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen In 1791 he French playwright and political activist Olympe de Gouges published the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen, modelled on the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789.
The Declaration is ironic in formulation and exposes the failure of the French Revolution, which had been devoted to equality. It states that: "This revolution will only take effect when all women become fully aware of their deplorable condition, and of the rights they have lost in society'. The Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen ollows the seventeen articles of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen point for point and has been described by Camille Naish as "almost a parody... f the original document". The first article of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen proclaims that "Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions may be based only on common utility. " The first article of Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen replied: "Woman is born free and remains equal to man in rights. Social distinctions may only be based on common utility'.
De Gouges expands the sixth article of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which declared the rights of citizens to take part in the formation of law, to: Australian women's rights were lampooned in this 1887 Melbourne Punch cartoon: A hypothetical female member foists her baby's care on the House Speaker "All citizens including women are equally admissible to all public dignities, offices and employments, according to their capacity, and with no other distinction than that of their virtues and talents". De Gouges also draws attention to the fact that under French law women were fully punishable, yet denied equal rights. 8] Mary Wollstonecraft, a British writer and philosopher, published A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792, arguing that it was the education and upbringing of women that created limited expectations.
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