Fascinating discussion, folks. Keep it coming.

But I do want to stress the child-rearing thing. My grandmother grew up in rural Mexico. Very agrarian society. Very male-dominated society. The thing is, my grandfather stole her. Yup. Stole her from her then husband and eight children.

She went on to have ten more children with my grandfather.

That poor woman was pregnant pretty much all her adult, child-bearing life. Though she could do much during that time, she was at a physical disadvantage during most of it and when not actually pregnant, she had a multitude of kids to herd around. Yes, some birth control was employed prior to modern methods, but for the most part they were not widely used or they were ineffective.

As KatG said, child-bearing and rearing take enormous resources - whether it is communal or not - that impacts every second of a woman's life.