Women in Patriarchal Societies In agricultural civilizations women were considered inferior according to modern Western standards. Agricultural civilizations were run by men and assumed that they directed political, economical, and cultural life. As agricultural civilizations become more prosperous the status of women declined from its initial level. The husband and father made all the key decisions and women were expected to obey them with whatever decision they made. Marriage was based on property relationships, which meant that once the women got married she was expected to move in to the residence of her husband’s family. Marriages were arranged and a formal contract was drawn up. The Sumerian law gave women some rights so they couldn’t be treated like property. There was a double standard when it came to adultery. Egyptian civilization gave upper class women more credit than Mesopotamia did. Confucianism in China recommended the good treatment of women but in the context of their deference to men. As agriculture improved women labor became less important than it was in hunting and gathering societies. Patriarchalism responded to economic and legal conditions in agricultural civilizations. Many women came to believe they had to obey and please men. Patriarchalism was enforced through law and culture. This provided one means by which these societies regulated their family and tried to achieve order. When over population threatened a family’s well being patriarchal assumptions often determined that female babies should be killed in order to control the population. Questions A believe that women who grew up in patriarchal societies wouldn’t have a large reaction to their conditions because since they were grown up in this society they probably came to believe they had to obey and please the men. A woman’s conditions in patriarchal societies could differ from one society to another, like the Sumerian Law which gave women some rights so they couldn’t be treated like property. Egyptian civilization gave upper class women more credit than Mesopotamia did. China recommended the good treatment of women but in the context of their deference to men. Often men considered upper class women more inferior than lower class women because in peasant families a women’s work was essential.