Ancient Egyptian Women

Ancient Egyptian women played an integral role in society. They received the same rights under law as ancient Egyptian men.  Ancient Egyptian women were able to own land and businesses.

The rights of an ancient Egyptian woman were solely based on her wealth status, similar to that of a man. The ancient Egyptians valued women as equal to men in almost all phases of life.

Ancient Egyptian women were celebrated. There were plenty of important goddesses in their belief system.

For example, Hathor was the goddess of motherhood and love, Nut was the goddess of the sky and Isis was the mother goddess. The importance of ancient Egyptian women is seen by the varying roles they were able to play in society.

Ancient Egyptian women’s role with children

Ancient Egyptian women were the main influence of education for children during their younger years. Mothers taught their children a moral code that included honesty, respect of elders and to follow directions or suffer punishment.

Ancient Egyptian education for women

Ancient Egyptian women did not receive the same type of education as males. Education for ancient Egyptian women was based solely on their status in society.

For instance, poorer girls were not taught to read or write, where as rich Egyptian women were taught to read and write as well as a number of other subjects like politics or history.

Household duties of ancient Egyptian women

Mostly all ancient Egyptian women were taught how to care for the household. These duties included cleaning, cooking, taking care of the children, making clothes and preparing medicinal recipes.

Cooking was very time consuming in ancient Egypt. Ancient Egyptian women needed to make flour from grains, grow vegetables in a garden and make bread from flour. In addition, they were responsible the many medicinal recipes which were a mixture of herbs, spices and oils.

Their education was based on the needs of the household and their class status. Poorer ancient Egyptian women would take care of the household as well as help their husbands and families to tending the fields.

Rich ancient Egyptian women were able to employ servants or have slaves in which they oversaw. They would also take care of the family business when their husband or the male of house was away.


Ancient Egyptian women married at a young age of 12 years old. Richer women did not get married until 15 or 16 years of age.

Marriages were arranged by the two families for economic reasons and not for love. Ancient Egyptian women received a predetermined allowance from their husband.

Marriages in ancient Egypt included prenuptial agreements that generally favored women.

Occupations for ancient Egyptian women

Ancient Egyptian women could work inside and outside of the house. They could own businesses and land but not all if any occupations were open to them.

Ancient Egyptian women were not freely educated unless they were from a rich family. There is evidence that one woman became a doctor but no women became scribes.

If they owned a business it generally involved selling items like clothing, cosmetics and perfume. Other job opportunities included being an entertainer such as a dancer or musician.

Ancient Egyptian women were priestesses and leaders

There were plenty of women married to gods in their religion and women could become priestesses. Priestesses over saw religious ceremonies as well as the temples associated with ancient Egyptian goddesses.

In a few instances richer ancient Egyptian women even became pharaoh such as Cleopatra VII and Hatsheput.

Facts about ancient Egyptian women

  • Ancient Egyptian women enjoyed the same legal rights as men.
  • Most ancient Egyptian women could not read or write.
  • Marriage was arranged by both families for economic reasons and not for love.
  • Ancient Egyptian women received an allowance from their husband.
  • Ancient Egyptian women taught their children a strict moral code.
  • Jobs available to ancient Egyptian women included being a dancer, musician as well as taking care of the household needs.
  • Rich ancient Egyptian women could become priestesses and leaders.
  • Ancient Egyptian women owned land, businesses and could borrow money.


  • Who was the most famous ancient Egyptian woman to become the pharaoh?
    Cleopatra VII
  • What type of code did ancient Egyptian women teach their children?
    Moral code
  • Ancient Egyptian women had the same rights as men including the ability to own?
  • What occupation was not open for ancient Egyptian women to perform?