As a vehicle of social mobility, the success or failure of a marriage greatly depended on a woman’s lineage, her family’s position in the tribe, the bridewealth that she could command and the contributions she could hope to make to the fortunes of the family that she was going to marry into.
While societies with matriarchal underpinnings provided for greater social mobility, in a patriarchal society, any influence hence attained was an indirect one at best. Once again, the disadvantages were the host of variable factors that had a direct bearing on the success or failure of this strategy, as well as the amount of time it took for any noticeable change to take place in a woman’s social influence.
Once again, as compared to a slave woman, this strategy greatly favored a free woman of noble stock with a well-connected family. As mentioned earlier, the best that most female slaves could hope for at the end of such an arrangement was a provision for better social standing in their community with tangible benefits in the shape of freedom for themselves and the resultant offspring, provision for better food and accommodation, and a higher rank amongst other slaves in the household.