Women’s Role During the Inca Empire

Topics: Colonialism, Inca Empire, Indigenous peoples Pages: 3 (961 words) Published: June 23, 2012
Women’s role during the Inca Empire (1438–1533) and after Independence ABSTRACT
In the following paper, we will see the role of women change from a submissive role during the Inca Empire to an activist in the present. Many empires developed and declined before 1500 CE. Imperialism had great impact on the status and roles of women, for example in noble women’s roles in marriage, religious rituals, power structures and legal rights (“Imperialism and Colonialism” web). In the following paragraphs, we will understand women’s role in the Inca Empire, and how it changed after independence (if it did at all).

The Inca Empire was a vast South American state and it required the participation of women politically, religiously, and economically (“Imperialism and Colonialism” web). In these, women and men for the most part had parallel positions and roles, at the same time; women were usually subordinate to the men (Silverblatt 36). At the highest level, the Inca king made one of his sisters his main wife. This union would bring wealth and status, and this women could rule as queen (quya) in her husband’s absence, and exercised great power in determining the royal heir with her “deciding vote” if the vote of the king’s council (represented by the four imperial regions) was deadlocked (“Imperialism and Colonialism” web). It is important to note that a royal couple was put in place to rule not just the king, thus this wielded the queen influence on political affairs. However, the king could take other wives such as the daughters of provincial rulers so that they may serve as links in political alliances (Silverblatt 39). In addition to her political role, the queen had religious responsibilities particularly those of the women (“Imperialism and Colonialism” web). The queen’s role was especially important during the agricultural cycle when fertility was of utmost concern. Besides the queen, other women were selected from throughout the empire at a young age to serve the...

Cited: H. L. Wesseling , Frances F. Berdan , Marc Matera "Imperialism and Colonialism" The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History . . © Oxford University Press 2008. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History : (e- reference edition). Oxford University Press. Houston Public Library. 2 April 2012
Sara Beatriz Guardia , Susan Elizabeth Ramírez , Asunción Lavrin , John F. Chuchiak IV , Argelia Segovia Liga , Roger Balm , Molly McGlennen "Indigenous Cultures" The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History . . © Oxford University Press 2008. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History : (e-reference edition). Oxford University Press. Houston Public Library. 2 April 2012
Silverblatt, Irene . “Andean Women in the Inca Empire.” Feminist Studies , Vol. 4, No. 3 ( Oct., 1978): pp. 36-61. Web. 2 April 2012
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