For men, not much. But for women, a whole lot. So said Mary Wollstonecraft, as she argued that this time around we must make certain that the genders live on an equal footing. The first time around, men built marrfam and, while doing so, managed to disenfranchise women across both the economic and sexual/reproductive realms. But this time around, Wollstonecraft said that we cannot let that happen. If, however, we are going to craft a level playing field on which women have the same chances as men to be in charge of their lives, we have to understand how men constructed an uneven playing field in the first place.
According to Frederick Engels (colleague, confidant, and close friend of Karl Marx), a pivotal event in the ancient history of genders and families was the onset of the Agricultural Age. Before that epoch, most persons in most parts of the world were hunters/gatherers who survived on fishing and hunting, and also on consuming wild-growing berries, fruits, and nuts. But over ten thousand years ago, certain discoveries turned the world upside down— they were a game changer. Foremost among those innovations was plant cultivation along with the breeding of livestock.
The upshot of those innovations was that for the first time ever, land itself became much more than merely wild spaces over which to stalk game and collect the bounty (fruits, nuts, berries,seeds, etc.) that sprang from it. Land evolved gradually into something it had never been before— a valued economic commodity. Land could now be induced to grow crops and support livestock. Furthermore, land had a way of unexpectedly generating a surplus— an abundance— much more food than people could consume. They thus gained a level of material wealth (in the form of crops and livestock) never before imagined, much less actually experienced, during hunter-gatherer (HG) days. Hence, in pursuit of that bourgeoning surplus or wealth, many HGs gradually morphed into what we today might call “agriculturalists.” Thus, for many tribes, agriculture became what Marx and Engels described as their principal “means of economic production.” Agriculture either replaced, or for a while existed alongside, their HG activities.