In real world, male tends be more politically powerful then female in many cultures mainly because of the advantage in physical condition. I wonder if it is possible to have a world that male and female are balance in power, where male has disadvantage in magic condition, contrast to female having disadvantage in physical condition.

In this world:

  1. Both female and male are able to use magic, but female are generally stronger in magic, while male are generally stronger in physical power. Magic is handy but are not overwhelmingly powerful. (or in the reverse way, exaggerate the physical power? For example, human will be able to break rocks with bare hand after training?)

  2. There is period for both men and women. While women suffer from physical unfit around once a month, men suffer from magical unfit as well. During this magical unfit, a man will find it difficult to use magic, and are easier feel tired mentally (physical condition are not affected, though). Some men will also suffer from headache, similar to stomachache of women during period. This only start from puberty.

  3. Pregnancy affects both father and mother of the baby. While mother suffer from severe physical unfit, father will suffer from severe magical unfit. (if it feels like carry a heavy object all the time for mother, it feels like always using a easy magic for father) Also, while mother is responsible for physically protect the baby, father will be responsible for mentally protect the baby. If the father dies or faint, the baby will also die mentally. (similar to brain death, still have breath and heartbeat, but will never wake up) Sleeping is okay with care, similar to mother need to be careful not to sleep face down.

Is this enough to make male and female balance in power? If not, what have I missed? Or will it be not possible no matter what to add?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Damn, you edited at the same time when I posted this as an answer, so my answer got instantly invalidated :/ $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 12:08
  • $\begingroup$ sorry for that.... $\endgroup$
    – cytsunny
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 12:08
  • $\begingroup$ um... after a second thought, seems like the edit is not necessary. $\endgroup$
    – cytsunny
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 12:15
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ A book series that pops to mind where distrubution of magic affects distribution of political power between the sexes is the Wheel of Time. $\endgroup$
    – kingledion
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 12:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @cytsunny I think it does since "balance between male and female" is mostly a cultural thing $\endgroup$
    – enkryptor
    Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 14:32

5 Answers 5


This is probably not the answer you're looking for. I don't think your way of equality will work. For one, the disparity is not caused by physical strength, physical strength is also a side effect of the real cause. The real cause is that the males are expendable. Males are not required after mating and for conception one male is enough for many women. Thus, males being expendable set their roles to be the protectors and the hunters of a tribe. After all, a dead male will not mean less offspring. In time, males that are stronger would survive these trials and would have more offspring. This is the true reason of disparity.

You cannot solve this with your proposal. Only way that this works is that the father cannot have another child before the woman can have another child. This will balance out the difference in time. Your way of balancing will actually cause a single father societies where the alpha male is to be protected while he makes even more children. The rest of the males will retain their previous roles. If the alpha male is chosen on magic potential, soon enough, males would be stronger in magic than women.


You missed one thing: If you have 100 women and one man, you can have 100 babies in a year. If you have 100 guys and one woman, you will have one baby and a lot of guys dead fighting over her. So it will still be better to send guys to battlefield. Rebuilding nation after war would be faster if casualties are on male side.

This also means that males would get more military power. More training, more experience, and will be the ones who, when it comes to violence, know their job.

Of course, if killing a man affects his baby, motherly instincts in woman may prevent her from attacking him. After all, if you see woman, you can guess with high probability if she is pregnant or not. With man, it wouldn't be the case, so if you will not strip women from their instincts, you will hamper their self-defense chances.

  • $\begingroup$ I wonder if motherly instincts is still a valid point if the process of pregnancy is in this new way. Also, after a second thought, while it is possible for male to "give birth" to more then one baby, the new pregnancy process should implies that it is harder to carry 2 baby at the same time. $\endgroup$
    – cytsunny
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 12:23
  • $\begingroup$ @kingledion question changed 17 minutes ago. This was posted 17 minutes ago... See this $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 12:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Mołot COINCIDENCE?! $\endgroup$
    – Devsman
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 14:56
  • $\begingroup$ Most of your people will be something besides soldiers. If your entire army is wiped out, A) your nation is finished, so rebuilding is irrelevant, and B) even if they survive, there will be plenty of females left to repopulate. Also, most men won't have a pregnant baby somewhere, so there's little risk in defending yourself. Finally, you seem to be under the mistaken impression that males don't have an instinct to protect children and females would be petrified by it. The instinct to protect your own family will nearly always be far stronger than some possibility of hurting someone else's. $\endgroup$
    – MichaelS
    Commented Nov 5, 2016 at 3:20
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelS most of people will not be soldiers, but historically who holds the sword makes the rules. Kings usually had ceremonial swords, right? And most wars wasn't too the last man. This is a huge misconception. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Commented Nov 5, 2016 at 11:00

I suspect the real issue isn't so much the distribution of power, but rather the "source" of magical energy that provides power.

For a semi plausible way to provide some sort of magical equality, consider that females of the species are the ones responsible for gestation and birth of children. This power of birth could be considered the source of female magical energy, and many of the magics revolving around life and death would then be exclusively the domain of female magicians.

Men, who in primitive societies are responsible for hunting and protecting the tribe, would preferentially develop forms of sympathetic magic tuned to the environment and plant and animal life. Male magicians would then have exclusive domain over "environmental" magic.

Since the two magical domains generally don't overlap, men and women would have to work in some sort of cooperative arrangement in order to maximize the ability to control their local regions through magic.

This isn't quite the way you described in the question, but by looking at the "source" of magic and keeping them separate, you could provide a means of providing equality and balance between the sexes.


Oppression of women occurred because men want children, and because society needs children to continue, so that makes a uterus a very valuable resource. So men have a strong incentive to keep women under control and societies have historically been more likely to thrive if women were forced to have lots of babies.

To make something analogous apply to men, you would need something inherent about men that is easily exploitable and valuable to others. It looks like what you need is that men are a source of magic that are required to perform magic spells. For a magic spell to work, one must use a man who then suffers a long period of pain and debilitation in order for the spell to work.

This would make the world dangerous for men, since others would be highly incentivized to capture and imprison men so they could use them for magic. Societies would set laws and set up their systems in such a way to keep men restricted in order to ensure that magic spells are plentiful. Men who sacrifice themselves and submit to the process would be idealized and men who refuse to would be shamed or possibly severely punished.

The academic side of magic would then fall to women. All the work of researching, developing and performing magical skills would be done by women, which would secure them wealth, power and status. The idea would emerge that men don't have this intellectual ability because it isn't their destined role. Some brave men would find ways to learn these things secretly, or even dress up as women so they can perform the skilled side of magic, but very few would get very far because they would be barred from the resources required to learn and practice these skills.

If magic academia develops enough over time, then maybe the amount of male suffering required by magic spells will be heavily reduced. This would open up for a possible male liberation, but it would be a long journey because many people (including many males) would believe that being a source of magic is a man's place, and all of society was built around restricting men's freedoms.


Sexually equality but much fewer births. Through out history woman are typically more reluctant to have sex because of the risks associated with pregnancy. Men on the other hand are typically more willing to sleep around because they don't have to worry about such risks. However in your world this is different both men and women have risk associated with pregnancy and are less likely to have kids especially out of wedlock.

In addition you would have more distinct gender roles in society. When I say you will have sexual equality I do not mean that man and woman to have the same roles in society like we see today. Only that woman would not be barred from education political participation ownership of property and so on. However in your world is clear distinction in specialties when it comes to men and women biology. You would have a society set around women being Mages ( with the occasional male who was unusually talented), and men being Warriors and laborers. ( with the occasional unusually strong woman)

Personally I would change the part of how about men being magically weak during pregnancy and instead say that woman gain magical strength when pregnant.

Some additional thoughts if the father is magically weekend during pregnancy will be unlikely that you will see fathers with pregnant wives on the battlefield. Laws might be have passed prohibiting men from marrying until they serve so many years in military. This you're probably result in a society significant age difference married couples. On the plus side rape of captives by soldiers prohibited because it would make you're fighting force weaker and more vulnerable to magic.

Also polygamy would be gone, if men become magically weaker while a woman is pregnant with their child the last thing you wanted to have a large group of women pregnant with his children at the same time

  • $\begingroup$ If it is not a more danger world, fewer births but with magic it should be easier to survive. So I think it is still a balance. $\endgroup$
    – cytsunny
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 12:27
  • $\begingroup$ @cytsunny good point i didn't consider that $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 23:59

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