In most societies, men and women did not have the same rights. In this sense, man has been, and in many places still, who has a privileged position in society . This phenomenon is called patriarchy.
This reality has conditioned the different aspects of life (personal relationships, culture, recognition of rights, working conditions, salaries and language itself ). If we take the family nucleus as a reference, the patriarchal family is the institution in which the father figure symbolizes power in a family.
Patriarchy from a religious, historical and scientific point of view
During centuries of civilization, patriarchy was justified by a series of assessments:
1) the role of women in the major monotheistic religions is of subordination in relation to man and this nailed idea and propagated today in temples and churches, based on the ancient peoples customs described in the Scriptures where it erroneously teaches that question patriarchy means going against the will of God;
2) in prehistoric hunting and gathering societies, man had a dominant role and this circumstance conditioned the evolution of the division of labor throughout history;
3) from a “scientific” perspective, it was believed that the woman was biologically determined, as her role as a mother represented her main function as a human being, leaving the rest in the background.
The feminist movement and the critique of the theses that underlie patriarchy
When, in the 19th century, the feminist movement emerged, demanding recognition of women’s rights (especially the right to vote), the traditional theses that theoretically justified patriarchy began to be questioned. In this sense, the Judeo-Christian idea that women have to depend on men began to lose strength when society abandoned the traditional values of religion.
On the other hand, the idea that the Paleolithic male hunter had a more important role in society contradicted new research (for example, it focused on showing that in the Paleolithic 60% of the food consumed was made by women). Finally, in the 19th century and especially in the 20th century, the weight of the idea that motherhood is the defining element of the female condition was lost.
Although patriarchy has lost its theoretical foundation, cultural traditions still exist today in which women are subordinate to men, that is, to the will of the father, husband or in the service of their children.
The Patriarchal Model Today
The patriarchal mentality is still very much present. As an example, we can recall some circumstances: machismo in certain sectors of society, genital mutilation of women in certain countries, discriminatory laws against women in the Arab world, the difference in wages compared to men, gender violence , etc.