Instructing a woman is like holding a sack of sand whose sides have split open.
- Ankhsheshong, scribe. Late Period Ancient Egypt
Neither wives of lords, nor widows, nor Assyrian women who go out on the street, may have their heads uncovered.....when they go out on the street alone, they must veil themselves.
- Middle Assyrian Law, 1383-1000 B.C.E.
The deadly female race and tribe of wives who live with mortal men bring them harm....women are bad for men, and they conspire in wrong, and Zeus the Thunderer made it so.
- Hesoid, Greek poet, 8th century B.C.E.
A proper wife should be as obedient as a slave...The female is a female by virtue of a certain lack of qualities - a natural defectiveness.
A woman...cultivates the skills required in the womens quarters and has no ambition to manage affairs outside the house...She must follow the three submissions. When she is young, she must submit to her parents. After her marriage, she must submit to her husband. When she is widowed, she must submit to her son.
- The Mother of Mencius, Waring States, 475-221 B.C.E, China
Women, even though they are of full age, because of their levity of mind shall be under guardianship.
- The Twelve Tables, Rome, 450 B.C.E.
No free woman who lives according to the law of the Lombards...is permitted to live under her own legal control, that is, to be legally competent...But she ought to remain under the control of some man or her king.
- Lombard Law- 7th century C.E.
You must be like the heart in the body. You must not leave the home...You must be like embers in the hearth.
- Advice given Aztec girls at ceremonies honoring their birth.
A womens piety and seclusion are favors from God..If [a strange man] knocks at the door, it is not proper for the woman to answer him softly and easily because mens hearts can be drawn to [women] for the most trifling [reason]...Women should not come in contact with a man even if he is blind.
- Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, theologian-philosopher, 1056-1111 C.E.
Women are as different from men as earth from the heaven. She depends on the light of her husband to shine. and Womans virginity and chastity are more important than her life.
- NeoConfucian Sayings, China.
If you have a son, you can say you have a descendant. But you cannot say thus, even if you have ten daughters.
- Vietnamese proverb
Even though you sleep intimately on the same bed and under the same cover with him, you must treat your husband as if he were your king.
- Upper Class Confucian marriage manual, Vietnam
There are only two places for a woman, the house and the grave
- Pakistani proverb
Women have long hair and a short mind.
- Swedish proverb
The best way to keep a woman is barefoot in the winter and pregnant in the summer
- American proverb
Bringing up a daughter is like manuring an and watering a plant for someone elses courtyard
- Telugu proverb
A man without brains and a woman without a man will never stand on their own legs.
- Estonian Proverb
A husband is to his wife as a superior being is to an inferior, as perfect is to imperfect, as giver is to receiver...The husband gives his wife the child, and she receives it from him.
- John Buridanus, 13th century
Woman should learn neither to read or write, unless she is interested in taking vows, because womens reading and writing has brought about many evils.
- Philip of Novara, 13th century
Ye husbands, a woman must be spared and borne with, the rather that she is the weaker vessel, of a frail heart, inconstant, and with a word soon stirred to wrath....Ye wives, as for your husbands, them must you obey, and cease from commanding, and perform subjection.
- The Homily on Matrimony, authorized by Queen Elizabeth I, England to be read at the marriage ceremony.
Women should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children...If a woman grows weary and, at last, dies from childbearing, it matters not. Let her die from bearing - she is there to do it.
- Martin Luther
The search for abstract and speculative truths, principles, axioms in the sciences, and everything that lends to generalized ideas is not within the compass of women...their job is to apply the principles that men discover.
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Education, France, 1762
Women...be simple in your dress; work hard in your household; never attend the popular assemblies with the idea of speaking up.
- Jacobin message, French Revolution, 1793
Women...the second sex, inferior in every respect to the first...to show them great reverence is extremely ridiculous, and lowers us in their eyes. When Nature made two divisions of the human race, she did not draw the line exactly through the middle. These divisions are polar and opposed to each other...the number two of the human race in Europe [should be] relegated to her natural place.
- Arthur Schopenhauer, On Woman, 1851
Bear always in mind your true situation and have the words of the apostle perpetually engraven on your heart. Your duty is submission....Your husband is, by the laws of God and of man, your superior; do not ever give him cause to remind you of it.
- Early 19th century American minister counsel for brides
If I were to plan with malicious hate the greatest curse I could conceive for women, if I would estrange them from the protection of men, and make them as far as possible loathsome and disgusting to man, I would favor the so-called reform which proposed to make doctors of them.
- Editor of Buffalo Medical Journal, U.S.A., 1871
Womans proper sphere is the family. There she is a sovereign queen. If we eliminate woman from every realm of public life, we do not do it in order to dishonor her, but in order that her honor may be restored to her.
- Dr. Josef Goebbles, Nazi minister of propaganda and public enlightenment. Germany, 1934
Resource: Never Marry a Woman With Big Feet: Women in Proverbs from Around the World, Mineke Schipper, Yale University Press, 2003.