Women and men were pretty much equal during the hunting and gathering phase of our existence, but female status dropped dramatically once we switched to agriculture.
The ability to produce and store surplus wealth created power inequalities of all sorts. Stronger and richer men came to dominate weaker and poorer men. Stronger and richer groups dominated weaker groups. And men established dominance over women.
Only recently, only partially, and only in some parts of the world have women regained anything approaching the equality they once enjoyed.
Women couldn’t vote in the U.S. until a century ago. Their pay is still markedly below that of men, despite the recent passage of anti-discrimination laws. And in many parts of the world, a woman can get killed just for wanting to go to school.
My wife and I have had an ongoing debate about these issues. She feels strongly that women deserve equal treatment as a universal, fundamental, civil right, and has no patience for cultures and religions based on the subjugation and denigration of woman.
Read more here: Are Women Really Inferior and Unclean?