Have sex with your husband
Most Helpful Guys
Two reasons. Firstly, women were physically much weaker than men. In the past, this was a decisive factor. As a man, I could just force myself upon any woman or make women to things with raw violence and there is little they could do about that. Even more so if I'm in a group of men.
Secondly, men used to hold pretty much all positions of power. They completely dominated political and clerical power positions but with that also held a lot of social power. Hence, it was impossible for a woman or even multiple women to protest against discrimination or inequality. The "system" (which was controlled by men) would immediately undercut all their efforts and punish them for their "disobedience". In that sense, it was a bit like starting a revolution in North Korea as a regular farmer... where do you even start? And there's actually another parallel between these two: in North Korea, regular people don't get access to the internet or unbiased information. Likewise, finding allies and likeminded people and organizing gatherings was extremely difficult in the past. Partially due to censorship, partially due to the lack of modern communication, technology and fast transport over vast distances.
This second aspect (the one of power) actually offers a fascinating interpretation for people like me who are intrigued by Karl Marx' theory of Historical Materialism. Now, Historical Materialism is an extremely complex and difficult philosophy but one way it could be broken down is to say that "all change is the result of class struggle". Marx believed that progress in the history of humanity is not so much a result of new technologies or new economic concepts but that it is a consequence of much more fundamental developments on a societal level. In principle, there have always been societies with classes, regardless of the historical period you're looking at. Interestingly, new "chapters" in the development of human civilization always came about by lower classes that had been oppressed for a long time finally uprising, destroying the old system and creating something better by assuming positions of power. In that sense, maybe the current rise of female power in the world isn't a bad thing as some people believe. If we believe Marx, it might in fact be the seed of something better to come.
By the way: women weren't "always" oppressed. This started very much with human settlement and the beginnings of agriculture. Before that, things like gender roles didn't exist.
Most Helpful Girls
i think a big part of this was the influence of religion on many cultures. there have been cultures where women were equal to men, or even women were superior to men (though few, as far as i'm aware), but the spread of religion, particularly christianity, enforced these "gender roles" that people were to conform to, as many countries at the time were pretty much governed by religion. these roles have come to exist as these ideologies were spread and adopted (an example would be missionaries travelling to asia to teach them about their religion, and colonising these countries meant that they were to follow these rules and roles)
not saying it's just one religion to blame though, many religions and cultures share similar ideologies of men being superior to women, whether due to coincidence or adopting different beliefs into their own.