Elam was one of the oldest civilizations of history and the greatest one in the Iranian plateau before the arrival of the Aryans. In contrast to lots of civilizations, Elamite culture considered woman as a respectful eternal person who is the cause of permanence of family and blessing. Among the many gods and goddesses that the Elamites worshiped, Pinikir, a mother-goddess was the greatest of all in the hierarchy of gods who were worshiped mostly in the northern parts of Elam but gradually lost her importance as the capital of the kingdom shifted toward south and another goddess named Kiririsha became the most important goddess of all because she formed the supreme triad of the Elamite pantheon along with Khumban, the Elamite god of sky, and In-shushinak, one of the greatest gods of Elam. They believed that their goddesses were the cause of fertility of all creatures and phenomena. The role of women was more important than men especially in royal families because the legitimacy and the right to rule was passed to new kings by marrying the queen of the dead king. Most of the time kings were married to their own sisters and the queen had many important roles in ruling the kingdom. The matriarchy system had continued until 2000 B.C. and even they had a queen named Shihle and she was the first woman who reigned the kingdom by herself as the power of ruling Elam was passed to her by her son, the king!

The important roles were not limited to women in royal families. Women had important roles in regular families too. Their testimony was acceptable in courts and the inheritance they got was equal to men’s. In addition to house holding, Elamite women worked outside the house too, for example, jobs like carpet-weaving and farming. Looking at the history of this civilization, one can easily understand the rich and developed culture of Elamites, a culture that was unique for hundreds and thousands of years even after its fall.

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