Dr. Amanda Foreman travels to Istanbul, Germany, London, Paris and Delhi to explore the ways in which women created their own routes to power, often subverting to their advantage the very restrictions placed on them.
Dr. Amanda Foreman explores the rise of "separate spheres" among early Confucian and Buddhist societies, as well the origins of the cosmic ordering of the female Yin and male Yang. She interrogates the extent to which women accepted or resisted the inferior status allotted to them under Confucianism, using the example of the Trung Sisters' rebellion in 1st century Vietnam; and Empress Wu Zetian's palace coup in the 7th century, making her China's only female ruler.
In the premiere, Dr. Amanda Foreman visits Catalhöyük, one of the world's earliest settlements, which archaeologists believe held remarkably different notions of gender. From Mesopotamia, she explores the world's first law codes written to regulate women's status and behaviour, including the world's first known veiling law dating from 1350BC, two millennia before the advent of Islam.