AP World History : Gender from Prehistory to 600 BCE

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP World History

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Gender From Prehistory To 600 Bce

In prehistory and early history, women _____________.

Possible Answers:

did not work and were confined to their homes

could work as long as they pretended to be men

worked but were confined to their homes

worked a variety of jobs

were often soldiers and fighters

Correct answer:

worked a variety of jobs

Explanation:

In prehistory and early history, women worked a variety of jobs including gathering, agriculture, and midwifing. They were not confined to their homes as that would have made much work, such as farming, impossible. There was very little cultural bias against women working, so they did not have to pretend to be male in order to work, as became a necessity in later eras. Women have sometimes been soldiers and fighters, but female warriors are the exception rather than the rule.

Example Question #2 : Gender

Research shows that prehistoric women in hunter-gatherer societies ___________.

Possible Answers:

lived lives of leisure and idleness

contributed greatly to the economic well being of their communities

had their feet bound

comprised the majority of soldiers and warriors

were unable to leave their homes without a male family member as an escort

Correct answer:

contributed greatly to the economic well being of their communities

Explanation:

Female members of prehistoric communities were often gatherers, responsible for ensuring members of the community could eat regularly, especially when the hunt wasn't successful.

They worked very hard, and certainly didn't lives we would consider full of leisure today.

In prehistoric societies women needed to be outside the home to work, which required women to have a family member as a male escort would make the idea that they could not leave without a male escort impracticable.

Feet binding was a practice for extraordinarily wealthy women in post-medieval China; in any prehistoric society it would have been impossible.

In any society, a minority of women fight as soldiers and warriors but in prehistoric societies, as in contemporary ones, men comprised the majority of soldiers.

Example Question #2 : Gender From Prehistory To 600 Bce

Which of the following was a result of the Neolithic Revolution?

Possible Answers:

A decrease in the world population

Shortages in the food supply

Equality of gender roles

Job specialization

Decreased trade

Correct answer:

Job specialization

Explanation:

The Neolithic revolution was marked by innovations in agriculture. As a result, not all people needed to be farmers; instead, they began to specialize in different jobs. The answer choice "job specialization" is correct.

This period led to an increase in the food supply (rather than shortages), an increase in the world population (not a decrease), and increased trade (rather than decreased). Furthermore, work done outside the home—such as herding—was typically performed by men and began to be valued more highly than work done inside the home, which was typically performed by women, leading to increased gender inequality.

Example Question #3 : Gender From Prehistory To 600 Bce

Which of these statements about women in ancient Mesopotamian society is most accurate?

Possible Answers:

Women were generally less powerful than men, but had many rights not seen elsewhere - such as the right to own property

Women were of equal status to men and enjoyed all the same rights that men did

None of these

Women were much less powerful than men and had few rights of their own

Women were generally more powerful than men; they were more likely to be educated and played a crucial role in religious ceremonies

Correct answer:

Women were generally less powerful than men, but had many rights not seen elsewhere - such as the right to own property

Explanation:

Women in Mesopotamian society were generally less powerful than men; however, they enjoyed certain rights and privileges which were uncommon elsewhere in the world. Women had the right to own property and businesses, for example.

Example Question #4 : Gender

Which of these statements most accurately describes gender relations during the Paleolithic Era?

Possible Answers:

Men and women served different functions in tribes, and men tended to dominate the tribal hierarchy

Men and women served different functions in tribes, but neither was considered superior to the other

Men and women served similar functions in tribes, and neither was considered superior to the other

Men and women served similar functions in tribes, but men tended to dominate the tribal hierarchy

Men and women served different functions in tribes, and women tended to dominate the tribal hierarchy

Correct answer:

Men and women served different functions in tribes, but neither was considered superior to the other

Explanation:

In human society, during the Paleolithic Era, men and women served different functions within their tribes. Men were generally responsible for hunting, whereas women were generally responsible for gathering as well as caring for children and preserving tribal harmony. In Paleolithic society, although there was a clear delineation of roles, men and women were largely equal in status. It was not until the Neolithic Revolution that men began to take more and more control over human society.

Example Question #5 : Gender

The transition from the Paleolithic Era to the Neolithic Era led to ______________.

Possible Answers:

an improvement in the status of women as society became more hierarchical

an improvement in the status of women as society became more inclusive

a decline in the status of women as society became more hierarchical

a decline in the status of women as society became more religious

a decline in the status of women as society became more violent

Correct answer:

a decline in the status of women as society became more hierarchical

Explanation:

During the Paleolithic Era women had generally served different roles to men, but were considered equal members of society. The transition to the Neolithic Era, however, reduced the status of women. Agricultural settlements and the growth of cities meant that, for the first time, societies had surpluses and territory to protect. Many societies coalesced around the strongest and most aggressive individuals who could best protect the community from invasion. This led to the rise of men as dominant leaders of society and the decline in the status and equality of women.

Example Question #4 : Gender From Prehistory To 600 Bce

Which of these was not one of the rights held by women in ancient Egyptian society?

Possible Answers:

women, generally, had all of these rights in ancient Egyptian society

the right to practice and preach religion

the right to own property

the right to manage a business

the right to divorce

Correct answer:

women, generally, had all of these rights in ancient Egyptian society

Explanation:

Women in ancient Egyptian society enjoyed substantial rights that would have been unfamiliar to women in most of the rest of the world. Women could seek a divorce, own property and businesses, and practice and preach religion. The status of women in paleolithic, mesolithic, and neolithic societies was sometimes better than we might expect, it was only after the rise of civilizations and the rule of might that the status of women began to decline around the world.

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