The Economist published a report suggesting that the kind of agriculture practiced has a long lasting impact on the status of women in a given culture.

They cite Ferdinand Braudel, who claimed that the shift from matriarchy to patriarchy in ancient Mesopotamia was due to the switch from the hoe to the plow. The second citation is a recent paper by Alberto Alesina and Nathan Nunn of Harvard University and Paola Giuliano of the University of California, Los Angeles, which finds striking evidence that ancient agricultural techniques have very long-lasting effects. Women from traditionally hoe using cultures have are much more likely to work outside the home than women from traditionally plow using cultures.

I would second this from my research into the switch from hunting to farming:

Yolanda Murphy, in Women of the Forest tells us that the men of the Munduruc, a South American farming tribe, refer to plants and sex in the same phrase about subduing women: “We tame them with the banana”.

As early as 1949 Simone de Beauvoir, in The Second Sex, recognized the plow and the phallus a equal symbols of male authority over women.

Finally, Thomas Gregor writes, in Anxious Pleasures: The Sexual Lives of an Amazonian People, “Brutalization and isolation of women seem to be functions of agricultural societies” and he adds women perform most or all the work in these groups.

This tells us the status of women is not pre-determined by their gender, and it is important for us to examine the first information societies – hunter/gatherers – for guidance in today’s emerging information world.