World History : Gender roles through time and across cultures

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for World History

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Gender Roles Through Time And Across Cultures

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

Possible Answers:

Women were the full societal equals of men; they were allowed to own property and hold elected office

Women were more disempowered than they were in any other contemporary society

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

Mesopotamia was a matriarchal society; women held more power than did men

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 Mesopotamia generally had less societal power 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 #2 : Gender Roles Through Time And Across Cultures

Women were granted full citizenship in which of the following empires?

Possible Answers:

The medieval Islamic Empire

The Spanish Empire

The Aztec Empire

The Han Dynasty

The Roman Empire

Correct answer:

The Roman Empire

Explanation:

During the Roman Empire, women could receive educations, own property, and run businesses, but were considered inferior to men. Still, this places the Roman Empire on a higher level of gender equality than many of its contemporaries and empires to come - in Han China or medieval Arabia, women were completely subservient to their husbands and, in many areas, not even permitted to leave their homes.

Example Question #3 : Gender Roles Through Time And Across Cultures

Which of the following is one of the ways that the Protestant Reformation transformed marriage?

Possible Answers:

Women were given more positions in the clergy, making marriage less central to religious life

Women lost their long-held access to education, forcing them to rely on marriage for economic stability

Men were encouraged to take many spouses, leading to an increase in polygamous marriages

Marriage was based less on transferring wealth and property and more often based on love

Marriage was based less on love and more often based on transferring wealth and property

Correct answer:

Marriage was based less on transferring wealth and property and more often based on love

Explanation:

Historically, marriage in Europe signified as much (if not more) for the families of the betrothed than for the bride and groom themselves - marriages would be strategically arranged to secure social status, distribute wealth and estate, and (in the case of nobles) establish political alliances. Notions of individualism that stemmed from the Reformation, however, led to an increase in marriages for love. Marriage did continue remain a primarily economic arrangement in many cases even after the Reformation.

Example Question #4 : Gender Roles Through Time And Across Cultures

Which of the following societies from throughout world history most closely resemble a matriarchy?

Possible Answers:

The Mughal Empire

Zulu tribes in sub-Saharan Africa

Hopi tribes in western North America

The Han Dynasty

The mediaeval English Monarchy

Correct answer:

Hopi tribes in western North America

Explanation:

Hopi tribes, along with some other contemporary Amerindian societies, functioned as a matriarchy. Unlike the majority of civilizations, which functioned as patriarchies, those that operated as matriarchies lent senior women decision-making power, and families were traced matrilineally. Despite these facts, historians doubt that any society has existed, matriarchy or not, in which women were given a higher place in the social order than men.

Example Question #5 : Gender Roles Through Time And Across Cultures

Which of the following events in Chinese history resulted in greater social freedom for women in the LONG TERM?

Possible Answers:

The death of Wu Zeitan in 705 CE

The seizure of the Tibetan state

The Maoist Cultural Revolution

The Opium Wars

The Mongol invasion

Correct answer:

The Mongol invasion

Explanation:

The Mongol invasion itself brought death and destruction to Chinese cities. But in the century that followed, under Mongol reign, Chinese women could own property, do business, and travel freely. Noble women were no longer required to bind their feet, and women were encouraged to hunt or become soldiers, two roles previously reserved for men. Additionally, Mongols vigilantly protected urban areas and highways, making traveling alone more safe - and less taboo - for women.

Example Question #6 : Gender Roles Through Time And Across Cultures

How did World War II transform the role of women in American society?

Possible Answers:

Emboldened by national pride, women began to vote in record numbers, ushering in a progressive revolution

Women were readily offered military positions, joining the ranks in numbers that nearly equaled men

Women were less likely to marry after the war, instead pursuing higher education in larger numbers

Women flooded to fill manufacturing jobs left open by men who were drafted, establishing a large female workforce

Women were forced to dress and act more conservatively by austerity measures brought on by the war

Correct answer:

Women flooded to fill manufacturing jobs left open by men who were drafted, establishing a large female workforce

Explanation:

Women made up the majority of the American workforce during parts of the war, seeking high-demand jobs in traditionally-male fields like manufacturing. In addition to the huge contribution to the war effort this trend provided, women stayed in the workforce in higher numbers after the war. This led to the explosion in the American working mother demographic through the baby boom.

Example Question #7 : Gender Roles Through Time And Across Cultures

Which classical civilization was known for having strong cultural values of gender equality?

Possible Answers:

None of these

Han China

Roman Empire

Mauryan Empire in India

Correct answer:

None of these

Explanation:

Large-scale movements toward gender equality did not exist until the Modern Era with the Suffrage movement in the 19th and 20th centuries.

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