Home > Feminism, History > Seeds of Civilization Planted by Women.

Seeds of Civilization Planted by Women.

Hut found at Terra Amata, near Nice in France,...

Image via Wikipedia

I would be remiss to let women’s history month pass without writing at least one article about the amazing contributions made by my favorite sex. Approximately 10,000 years ago women laid one of the most important pieces of foundation that our early civilizations were built upon: Agriculture.

For thousands of years before the Agricultural Revolution, men and women lived and worked together in small Paleolithic hunter/gatherer groups. Generally the men were hunters and the women were gatherers. These tribes were constantly on the move, following their food and living hand to mouth.

Around 12,000 years ago two events occurred that affected these groups in critical ways: The glaciers began to retreat toward the polar ice cap leaving behind rich fertile topsoil, and the massive land animals became extinct.

The cave man backyard mastodon barbeques would come to an end, and it was up to the women to figure out how to ensure their survival. What these gatherers came up with would plot the course to where we are today.

It was the early women who figured out that seeds and nuts could be planted and harvested, providing a stable means to survive. They developed the first farming tools, methods for long term storage, and the techniques for processing grains to make bread. The techniques for converting grains into bread would lead to the creation of two of the most important commodities in history: Sandwiches and Alcohol!

As farming progressed, communities were formed and became villages. As the population increased these centers of agriculture eventually developed into cities and our earliest civilizations. Unfortunately while women were busy saving our early populations through farming, men were coming up with an invention of their own; Patriarchy.

Through the domestication of animals and the invention of the heavy plow, the men wrestled control of the entire food supply. Control over the distribution of food would lead to control over other areas such as ownership of property and leadership of the agrarian communities. A few thousand years later, the development of religious and civil laws would further strengthen the masculine stranglehold on women and preserve the legacy of inequality and misogyny that exists to this day.

In the last 100 years women have courageously fought back in an effort to reclaim what is theirs: Equality as citizens, as family members, as mates, and as individuals. Women have just begun to win back their rights to control their own bodies as well as their destinies. Let’s all raise our glasses in honor of the prehistoric women that founded the basis of our civilization, and toast to the hope that someday full equality will again be a reality instead of a dream.

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