If you could go back in time, what time period would you choose to live in?
I know this is a challenging question, especially if you’re a woman because women through history have mostly been stuck at home and out of politics. Well, we found the era that would be pretty cool to live in as a woman: The Viking Age (7973-1066 AD).
Viking women were pretty powerful! Even though woman can’t technically be a Viking, because it was a term that used to describe men who sailed from Scandinavia in groups to engage raiding and trading in Europe, Britain, and the East, but the lives of Viking women were pretty interesting, too.
As in every other traditional civilization, typical gender roles existed, and the Viking society was male-dominated. However, there were female warriors as well, and they were buried with weapons and tools, and the Stockholm and Uppsala Universities discovered that women held high-status positions in Viking culture.
The study was published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, and it notes that women were able to be full members of the male-dominated spheres during the Viking Age.
Aside from being female warriors, women of the Viking Age had other freedoms as well, like owning their own property, managing the household, and being able to divorce their husbands. Also, there were laws against unwanted advances – something that is missing in some countries even today.
A woman could call witnesses to her marriage bed and declare that she had divorced her husband, and then the property was divided – equally! There were laws that had provisions about unwanted advances, and listed penalties for offenses, ranging from kissing to intercourse.
And then there’s BBC’s story about a powerful Viking woman – the daughter of a Norwegian chieftain who married a Viking man. She took charge of her family when her husband lost his life, she organized a ship to take her and her granddaughters to Iceland, and became one of the four most important settlers of Iceland – like a real boss!
Well, I hope there was a time machine right now!