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date: 14 April 2024


The Oxford Encyclopedia Women in World History
Helen SafaHelen Safa

Urbanization introduced a new division of labor into human society. Cities differ from rural areas not only in size and density but also in degree of specialization and stratification. Cities facilitated the formation of an urban elite that was no longer engaged in direct production of food and other human necessities for subsistence and instead governed society, either as a theocratic ruling class (as in the old cities of West Africa) or as an administrative or merchant class (as in the mercantalist medieval cities of southern Europe). Women joined this ruling elite as dependents of men and seldom governed in their own right.... ...

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