Men and women in the Paleolithic era were nomadic hunters and gatherers. Since they had to follow their food source, the women gathered berries and plants while the men were out hunting. Women were also responsible for caring for the children. Since there was no code of law or government in the Paleolithic era, the only sense of social organization was that groups were patriarchal.
Women in ancient Mesopotamia were clearly second to their male counterparts, regardless of which layer of the social strata they were part of. Since Mesopotamia was a sedentary civilization with a legal code and a clear social hierarchy, women were well aware of their rights and privileges. Laws in the Code of Hammurabi allowed women to buy and sell property and to engage in commercial trade.