How does the status of women in Tang and Song China compare/contrast with the status of women in other societies. 

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The women of the Tang and Song Dynasties held a somewhat higher social position than previous dynasties and their contemporaries in other places. These women still had a lower status than men, but they had certain rare privileges as well. However, it is important to keep in mind that these privileges rarely extended to the peasantry.

For instance, during the Song Dynasty, empress dowagers were still involved in the affairs of state and domestic policies. They sometimes used this influence to promote the rights of women. Women emperors even continued under the Tangs, most notably with Wu Zetian, who raised the status of noble women in China. During the Tang Dynasty, women were allowed to hold certain positions within the government bureaucracy. There were even several famous female generals during this period which raised the esteem of women as a whole. In short, the Tang and Song Dynasties were periods in which certain rulers and members of the nobility began to see the usefulness in including women.

Generally, women elsewhere, and even rural Chinese women, lived in less egalitarian societies. Their role was often relegated to family affairs such as raising children and maintaining the household. Among the lower classes, they would also work the fields alongside men or participate in other labor-intensive tasks. In most other cultures' nobility, women were expected to be the silent supporters of their family and usually remained cloistered in the home. They were almost never involved in politics and government.

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Women in this time period in China are said to have been relatively advantaged compared to women in other societies.  This was true more for high-class women than for the great majority of women.

The great majority of women in China in that time, as in just about every society in the world, lived on farms.   These were women whose lives revolved around hard work.  Ideas of rights and such would have had little to do with their lives.

On the high end of the social scale, though, Chinese women were relatively well off.  They were allowed a great deal of freedom and are said to have been active in politics (with the Empress Wu Ze-tian being the most extreme example) and culture.  This was a luxury not avaialble to women in most countries at the time.

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