Ancient China for Kids
Women in ancient China were inferior to men, but older people, both men and women, were greatly respected. Villages often had a "wise woman", who was a very old women, believed to have special gifts. Many people in the village, men, women, and children, might consult the wise woman for advice and help. Another way for a woman to gain importance was if her husband had died and she was the oldest living member of the family. That gave her power over the family as she was the oldest living member. But other than that, Confucius taught that women's roles were in the home. Their job was to look after the men and raise the children. Confucius said that women should not have their own ambitions. A woman's thoughts, suggestions, and opinions were not important.
Marriages in ancient China were arranged. Women, when they married, moved into their husband's home. Wives were no longer was allowed to worship their own ancestors. A wife's loyalty had to be to her husband's family, both living and dead. A new wife basically became the servant of her mother-in-law, and could not disobey her, until she gave birth to a son. Once a woman gave birth to a son, she received more respect. Men from wealthy families quite often had several wives, in the hope of having several sons.