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.
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.