The Aztecs and the Origins of Gender Inequality

April 9, 2009

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When and how did men gain greater wealth, status, and power then women?  To answer this question, I compare men's and women's roles in two ancient Mexican societies:  the early city of Teotihuacan and the later Aztecs.  At Teotihuacan, rulers were probably men, but male and female differences were not emphasized.  In contrast, the Aztecs kings played up male and female differences and conferred greater wealth, power and prestige upon men.  Aztec rulers used gender hierarchy to create a highly motivated military that strengthened the ruler's domination of both his male and female subjects.

 

Recorded Thursday, April 09, 2009 at The Field Museum.