How was the status of the woman in the past?
She was a commodity to be bought and sold, disrespected and dishonored. She was sold just like an animal or a piece of furniture; she was forced to get married or to commit adultery. She didn't inherit or own money; her husband takes over her money if she has some without her permission. Some ignorant cultures went even beyond that, in discussing whether she is a human being with a soul and spirit just as a man!