We Used to Have Gender Equality…50,000 Years Ago

Think sexual inequality has been around for all of human history? Think again. A new study in Science suggests that our prehistoric ancestors actually operated an egalitarian society for tens of thousands of years.According to anthropologists at University College London, back when humans were hunter-gatherers, men and women had an equal say in where they lived and who they lived with. That means gender equality may have been evolutionarily advantageous, as it would have made it possible for individuals to have more expansive social networks. Things only took a turn for the worse when we moved away from hunter-gatherer societies.“There is still this wider perception that hunter-gatherers are more macho or male-dominated,” said Mark Dyble, the study’s lead author. “We’d argue it was only with the emergence of agriculture, when people could start to accumulate resources, that inequality emerged.”The news is no doubt a blow to all those who think women should stay at home in the kitchen because of evolution. However, it should come as no surprise to anyone who’s ever watched The Flintstones—we all know Wilma was the real boss of that house.