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Gender Inequality Is At The Root Of The Blood Tax

blood tax

Traditionally, societies are organized around the functions that their members perform. If we look at Maslow’s pyramid, we can see that the hierarchy of needs in the pyramid follows the structure of ancient societies. The peasants who make up the base provide for subsistence needs. The warriors provide security through their mastery of the art of war. The clerics contribute to giving a profound meaning to existence, they organize the narrative of the community and maintain the link with God by presenting themselves as intermediaries. Basically, an individual can thus serve three main roles in a society: providing food to its members, protecting them or contributing to giving meaning to their existence.

This explains in particular the greater role given to women in societies (most often hunter-gatherers) that ignore the mechanisms underlying procreation. The fact that women could give birth without the apparent participation of men gave them an unparalleled power. Miraculous fecundity played a structuring role in the manner of the queen bee who governs without a king.

From the moment the secret of conception was revealed, women lost their status and were relegated to the first level of society. Moreover, they could not compete with men on military functions. The more violent and warlike a society becomes, the more male figures of political and spiritual power are expected. This may partly explain the virtual disappearance of women from the political scene until very recently, with rare exceptions where they put forward a warlike temperament or a mysticism that gave them an aura (Joan of Arc, etc.).

To a lesser extent, although they belonged to the base of society, some craftsmen could enjoy a real status by the very fact that they helped the warriors to be better through their work. Thus, blacksmiths (who made weapons), smelters (who made cannons) and other armorers (who made defensive weapons and armor) could be the protectors of the rulers and in some cases be part of the court and have an escort. These jobs required real physical strength, and women were excluded.

In an era that is becoming more peaceful, women have more of a role to play. A society without war should naturally propagate gender egalitarianism. Modern societies are no longer ruled by a clergy or military. What makes the difference nowadays is more about the development of a narrative and the ability to influence a group. Women seem to have as much, if not more, ability to do this than men.