Women in ancient Egypt lived much more liberated lives than most of their contemporaries, at least those women who owned some property. And they could own property in their own right, buying and selling it as they chose, as well as being able to will it away to whoever they wished. Working women received exactly the same pay as men in the same jobs -- something most countries still have trouble with today. Royal women are depicted as taking part in battle, even being decorated for valor. Queens frequently carried out diplomatic correspondence with other nations in their own right, and also deputized for their husbands. The Greek historian Herodotus, observing Egyptian society around 450 B.C.E., said that they "had reversed the ordinary practices of mankind," since women would go out to the market to trade, while men stayed at home weaving.
Though most women were illiterate (as probably about 95 - 98% of society was at that time), some did learn to read and write, as evidenced by the fact that some women held high office. Queen Hetepheres II held the title of "Controller of the Affairs of the Kiltwearers" (Mith, are you reading this?
), which actually meant she was in charge of the entire civil service, a very important job. Female overseers, governors, doctors, and judges were not unheard of, and in at least two cases, the Grand Vizier was a woman. There are also six queens on record as ruling completely independently, including Hatshepsut, Nefertiti, and of course Cleopatra.