Although women's situations are improving in some developed countries, in most countries throughout the world women may become a burden on society if they lose the economic support of a man. They may be left with children and this increases the burden on social welfare services or on other members of the family. Because the status of women is one of dependency, women may be ill-prepared to support themselves or a family; and even if willing to do so may not be able to in practice because of unequal pay and inadequate child-care facilities. Women are retired from work earlier than men despite a longer average life expectancy.
Girl babies have always been unpopular. The Jewish Talmud says 'When a girl is born, the walls are crying; in the Book of Islam it is written 'When an Arab hears that a daughter has been born to him his face becomes saddened; and the Migures of Central Asia say 'It is better for a girl not to be born, or to die soon after birth'. This indicates how women were felt to be a burden in traditional civilization, either from the point of view of maintenance, protection, and marriage settlement, or lack of dynamic contribution towards feeding or safeguarding the community.
The problem is universal, though the burden is better absorbed in tribal and primitive society where most social categories are better integrated than in industrialized society.