In the 1800'-1900's, women were not given as fair rights as men. Their physical differences led them to being used for marriage, sex, and child-rearing. Husbands 'owned' all the money and possessions of the female, and had the woman had to be married to have children. People of high stature in the church said the Bible dictated women should be willing to be servants to their husbands. There was a rebellion against this, where women interpreted the Bible herself, and encouraged others to do so, feeling that religious leaders were twisting the words of religion to dominate females. Also, history sometimes ignores females, except when the female is related to a man who was famous enough to be in the History books. Women's duties were seen as a 'societal chastity belt.' The vast majority of people working in clothing looms were women. Some compared women's' lack of rights to the institution of slavery.
Some people saw African-Americans as less than human, and used the Bible to validated treating them as lower-class, and could relate that idea. In my opinion, it's slightly different because slaves' oppression was a physical one of chains and work, whereas women didn't have equal opportunities in social, economic, and personal situations.
I think that this brings up a worthwhile point. It should be recognized that men and women are intrinsically different. Naturally, our chromosomes are different. Our hormones are different... which means that men and women naturally are interested in different things. However, whether someone is male or female has no relationship to their intelligence, and therefore shouldn't affect their ability to take part in making decisions about their own lives.