In the later Vedic period, women lost their political rights of attending
assemblies. Child marriages also came into vogue. According to the Aitareya
Brahmana, a daughter has been described as a source of misery. The Atharva
Veda also deplores the birth of daughters. Yet certain matrilineal elements are
discernible in this period also. The importance assigned to the wives of the
rajan in the rajasuya has been regarded as an indication of matrilineal
influence, and the Vamsavalis or genealogies of teachers attached to the
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, in which many seers bear metronymics, would
also possibly indicate a similar development. Further, references to sages
such as Gargi and Maitreyi would probably mark a certain continuity with the
tradition of early Vedic women seers. Nevertheless, clear attempts to
establish a gender hierarchy by differentiating between men and women and
ensuring the subordination of the latter to the former, are also discernible in
the ritual context, and would suggest a growing tendency to stratify society
along gender lines.
Institution of Slavery
It was prevalent since the Rig Vedic times. There were mainly women slaves
employed for domestic purposes and not in any producing activity such as
agriculture or industry. Treatment of slaves was decent and they even
enjoyed certain rights. Hence, ancient Indian slavery (including that of the
Vedic period) was essentially different from the ancient Greek or Roman
Rig Vedic Aryans lacked the art of writing and reading. However it is
possible that the later Vedic Aryans started using script from 700 BC onwards.
(Though the earliest evidence for the use of a script in India, besides the
pictographic script of the Harappans, comes from the Mauryan period in the
form of Asokan edicts.) An effective oral instruction and a highly systematic
method of memorising were developed by the Rig Vedic people. Education
was permitted only to the higher castes and the teaching of the Vedas was
generally restricted to the Brahmins.        The main subjects of study were