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Word Count: 925
Youve come a long way baby so says the Virginia Slims cigarette commercial This brand of cigarettes intended mainly for women was absolutely correct-women have come a long way In todays society women have gained a role comparable to their male counterparts However this struggle for equality has been a long one lasting for several centuries If we go back to our roots ancient Egypt Mesopotamia Israel etc we see that in some societies Mesopotamia and Israel women were treated as inferior beings while other societies Egypt granted women special rights that once were only given to men The most complete surviving code of law from ancient Mesopotamia is Hammurabis Code This list verdicts by Hammurabi sixth king of the Babylonian dynasty was written on a stela and placed in the center of the marketplace for all to see Among the verdicts listed on this stela those laws concerning women are especially harsh due to their description of the inferiority of women Of particular interest are the laws concerning male and female merchants Although female merchants might work just as hard as their male counterparts they were often given strict penalties if their work was below par sometimes even as far as death In law 108 if a woman wine-seller instead of receiving grain for the price of a drink has received money by the large weight and has so made the value of the drink less than the value of the grain they shall prove it against that wine seller and throw her into the water This refers to a practice known as a trial by ordeal It was believed that the Euphrates River would act as judge of people accused of various crimes If when thrown into the river the accused person floated she or he was considered innocent But if they sank the river had found them guilty However verdict 94 states that if a male merchants goods were not worth
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