The Bible teaches that women are equal to men as human beings, albeit with different roles to play in the home and in society, and with different strengths. Man, having been made physically stronger than woman by God the Creator, has been made by Him to be the provider and the protector. To Christian husbands the Lord commands: “giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life” (1 Pet. 3:7); and, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it…. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies” (Eph. 5:25-28). No man, who loves the Lord and His Word, would wish to treat a woman with contempt, or abuse her. Women should be treated with respect and gentleness by men.
In heathen societies untouched by Gospel influence to any great degree, women have always been, and still are, treated with contempt, as virtual slaves, existing merely for the service and pleasure of men, without equality before the law, possessions to be owned rather than precious human beings to be treasured. It was, in fact, only the influence of Christianity in certain societies that elevated the status of women, and moved men to treat them with proper respect, and true kindness and love. This can be seen in the gentlemanly attitude of men to women in those countries deeply influenced by Christianity in the past — the western Protestant countries. In such lands, women were viewed as weaker human beings, who should be protected and treated with courtesy and kindness. This produced the kind of manners that once characterised men in much of western society: standing up when a woman entered the room, opening the door for her, pulling out a chair for her, taking off or tipping one’s hat to her, etc. And these societies were the better for it.
And it was also in those societies and countries influenced to a large extent by Christianity, that women were given many freedoms of which their sisters in other lands knew nothing. For in those societies men understood that it was simply not right to treat women as second-class citizens. And so they uplifted the status of women more and more.
But then came the feminist movement.