Throughout history, people who were born male were granted more power and a better place in society. Males were considered the stronger sex and the women were only meant for bearing children and being housewives. Around 1950s women started getting more important roles, some of them started working but still, a large amount was still bound with stereotypes. Nowadays, men and women are considered equals and there even are women who are more successful than their husbands.
This problem’s roots go back to ancient times.
According to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, the primary function of women was to carry on the family tree, and “tending the family hearth”. “The reproduction of children, especially sons”, was the main purpose of women, and all of the men’s social activities were “off-limits to her”. From Aristotle’s point of view, “it is only men who are complete human beings and can hope for ultimate fulfillment; the best a woman can hope for is to become a man”.
However, Aristotle’s teacher, Plato, thought differently about women. Plato believed that women had a significant role to play in society, and he thought “women were necessary for society to run smoothly”. According to Plato, even though he believed that females were required to function in a working society, he continued to hold the position that women were nowhere close to equal to men. On the other hand, Plato realized that “men may have been stronger than women physically but women had strengths that were far superior in other areas”. For example, he believed that “women are naturally maternal and these maternal skills made them better caretakers for children”.
Here, even though Plato thought women were a necessary part of the society. Their role still was carrying children.
As a complete opposite of Greece, in Scandinavia women and men were practically equal. If there was no male relative, the woman could become the head of the household. Women had the same power as men. There were even shield-maidens, Viking fierce female warriors who stayed virgins and dedicated themselves to battles.
Around a half-century ago, women’s rights started raising. More women started getting educated, more started working and we came to the world we are in now. Now, women and men have equal rights. And even if the male breadwinner stereotype is still alive, many women earn more than their husbands.