Most jobs - and definitely all jobs that required some skills and qualifications - were exclusively held by men, who were the only persons meant to support their families. Loving wives, who had been busy during the day with the household chores and with their children, were dutifully waiting for these 'gods' to come back home in the evenings. Love was synonymous with marriage. Love outside marriage was considered a sin, and sexual inversion was banned. Children were just future career men or future good wives.
Almost nothing unexpected seemed to happen to these people: they went on with their daily routine. Work - paid for men, housework - not paid - for women. In their spare time, men could go anywhere, including to some not very respected establishments, as long as discretion was observed. Women used to go out, but only as Mrs. X or as Miss Y., accompanied by their careful fathers and mothers.
This was the perfect order, but like in the Greek democracy, this was only for the citizens of Great Britain. Nevertheless the great empire also had people belonging to other races, worshipping other gods, having other sets of values. These people were actually ignored. They were accepted - condescendingly - in the 'civilised' world when and if they had adopted the 'civilised' set of values.
These values were actually adopted by many other 'civilised and respectable' societies, in Europe, in the USA, in Africa, in Asia or in Australia. But it is human nature to wish to change something. And many were the people who wanted to demonstrate that the established order was not good, to show that no matter how good these 'long-established values' were, they did not refer to all people, that there were many people who were outside the circle including 'the good and respected' ones.
Isolated at the beginning - some pioneers considered merely weird people - then in groups - more and more voices uttered louder and louder their claims. The black people rose against racial discrimination. The socialists and then the communists rose against private property and social inequity. Feminists rose against genre discrimination, which is, actually persisting even in the 'white man's society'. The simplest argument is the fact that women are sometimes still paid less for the same job requiring the same qualification and skills.
One by one, the sound values of the Victorian society - actually - the standard values of the leading power of the world at that time, began to shake and crumble.
The two World Wars, the communist rule that was being established as an alternative to the unjust capitalist world - accepted not only by poor, uneducated people, but also seen as a better alternative by many broad-minded intellectuals and rich people of the time - made the leaders of the world bring a new order in the chaos that was about to come. And this was materialised in the "Declaration of the Human Rights" issued on 10 December 1948. The first article of the declaration is the synthesis of everything all these liberation movements (anti-racist, socialist or feminist ones) had been fighting for:
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.'
The phrase 'human being' itself wipes out all differences - racial, social or those referring to genre. However, a