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Changing sex roles

Women's roles have shown great change throughout history. Women's status was fairly high in ancient Egypt in sense of considerable independence, power and choice and low in early Greece and Roman Empire.

The traditional sex-role ascription assumed a series of sex differences in abilities and limitations which are no longer believed by educated people. In traditional societies like Indian society it was easy to attribute one's discriminatory practices to the will of God but it is now not acceptable. It is widely believed that normal sex roles are normal for only a specific time and place .Thus the intellectual foundation for the subordinate roles of women have been negated. The importance attributed to the work one does have always been closely related to one's status and power. In ancient societies priests seemed to have greater control over the people. In hunting societies where men caught the food and women generally prepared it the man's success in hunting determined whether the group ate or starved.

In agricultural societies, women's contribution to food supply increased and women's power also increased. Industrialization both in developed and developing countries lowered the status of women. It made men the primary breadwinners and women the helpers. But during the later stages of industrialization and in the post industrial society family size started shrinking and more women started working in factories. According to a research done by Blood and Wolfe the wife's power within the family tends to vary according to how closely her pay check matches her husband's. It can be safely said that while women have been slow in gaining power equal to their economic contribution, the economic base for male dominance is reducing considerably in both developed and developing nations.