What Was the Role of Women in Ancient China?

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Women in ancient China lived oppressed lives, and their roles centered around caring for their husbands, cleaning, cooking and looking after their kids. The women of ancient China were expected to bear many children, and most of them felt pressure from their husbands to bear a son despite its being beyond their control.

Few women got jobs outside the home, and when they did, the jobs usually consisted of sewing, weaving and spinning. Some peasant women were forced to work in the fields with their husbands. Either way, it was uncommon to see women of ancient China away from their homes.

Women of ancient China did not have a say on how they married either. All marriages were arranged and considered carefully. Before arranging marriages, the parents of the children would always seek the help of an astrologer. The job of the astrologer was to refer to the birth charts of the children and determine if the two kids would be compatible. In ancient China, compatibility was based on the date and time of birth. Regardless of what the astrologer says, it was always up to the father if the marriage was approved.

When the women met their in-laws, they bowed and served tea. This was a sign that they now belonged to their husband’s family. It was common for the women to become the servants of their mother-in-laws.