For a start, there have historically been a large number of societies where the women have been of equal standing to the men and have fought alongside them in battle.
"The propensity to fall pregnant" never stopped any of that. It's rather over simplistic to think that "women staying at home" is a natural consequence
of being the ones who bear children.
For a start, there have been means of contraception for thousands of years, ranging from herbs that are natural abortatives to condoms made from animal intestines, so "Magical Contraception" - or any form of contraception - is not the issue.
The issue is societal, and different societies had different thoughts on equality of the sexes.
Read some of the Roman historians on the subject of the "Barbarian" tribes and the women and you'll get quite a different picture than the "quiet stay at home women-folk" usually associated with those eras.
Contrast Roman women who had to sit at their husbands' feet with Gaulish and Briton women (aka "Celts") who could wield political power, own lands and fight and were treated as equals by Gaulish and Briton men.
The whole Boudicca thing stemmed from arrogant Romans not being willing to share the estate with a "mere woman" - and a large number of tribal men basically stood up and followed this "mere woman" against the Romans for their affrontery. (For affrontery, read "beating and raping Boudicca and her daughters".)
When you have a lifestyle that includes sporadically raiding your neighbouring tribes and defending your homesteads against raiding tribes, anyone with sufficient limbs to pick up a sword is a combatant.
While the women may have tended to gravitate towards working around the homestead to look after the children and the men tended to be the ones going out to raid or hunt or tend the stock, if a raiding party arrived while the men were out, who do you think it was who held the homestead against the raiders?
…a whole band of foreigners will be unable to cope with one [Gaul] in a fight, if he calls in his wife, stronger than he by far and with flashing eyes; least of all when she swells her neck and gnashes her teeth, and poising her huge white arms, begins to rain blows mingled with kicks, like shots discharged by the twisted cords of a catapult”
- Ammianus Marcellinus
The women of the Celtic tribes are bigger and stronger than our Roman women. This is most likely due to their natures as well as their peculiar fondness for all things martial and robust. The flaxen haired maidens of the north are trained in sports and war while our gentle ladies are content to do their womanly duties and thus are less powerful than most young girls from Gaul and the hinterlands.
- Marcus Borealis
"content to do their womanly duties", indeed! Fucking Romans!
A Celtic woman is often the equal of any Roman man in hand-to-hand combat. She is as beautiful as she is strong. Her body is comely but fierce. The physiques of our Roman women pale in comparison.
- unidentified Roman soldier of Marcus' period
And from the Celtic tribes own lore we have tales of heroes being trained in the martial arts by women as well as the whole point behind the "Tain" was a dispute between the king and queen over who had the most riches - a dispute that would never arise in Rome because the minute a woman married, all lands and treasures she owned became the property of her husband... just as she did.
And then there's the women of the Amazonian tribes who fought alongside their men and spawned an entire mythology about a society where the men were submissive to a race of Warrior Women.
Sexual Equality is not "anachronistic".
edited 8th Oct '12 6:50:25 PM by Wolf1066