However, in this modern age there are legitimate questions raised as to whether martial coercion should remain on the statute books - a defence based on the premise of a woman's lack of moral strength, is surely outdated. Or is it?
Having 'it all' or even defining what that means can be difficult. For women, success is often painted in a different light than for men. Success for a woman is more than having a successful career, its about relationships with others, family, friends, community, creative fulfillment.
Is it possible to have faith in a system of self-regulation when those developing that system are not even opening their discussions to public scrutiny? "Who guards the guardians?" is a question still pertinent today, well over a year after it was first posed by Lord Justice Leveson in launching his inquiry.
Judith Harry says that women are not supposed to be leaders, or at least that's what people think. She is a groundnut farmer in Mchinji, Malawi, and a single mother raising her teenage daughter and two teenage orphans.
The perception that sexism has been solved - that modern Britain banished the historical evil of misogyny through equality legislation and the removal of formal barriers to employment - is pervasive. The rationale is: 'if I don't see it, it can't be that bad.'
It seems appropriate on Mother's Day to be writing about a week when women dominated the headlines. True, it wasn't always for the right reasons (Vicky Pryce doesn't need her many years as an economist to understand the true price of revenge after her time in court this week), but Friday's International Women's Day shone the spotlight on much good that is being done, the world over, in the name of women's rights.
I got a phone call from my doctor recently, telling me that a recent blood test showed that I was 'post-menopausal'. I didn't quite know how to respond to this news. I didn't feel post-menopausal. My body seemed to be still following somewhat familiar rhythms.
When I was told I had breast cancer I walked out of the hospital feeling shocked, scared and broken. The first person I called was you. I can't remember a time in my life when this wasn't my natural reaction...
Since Mali adopted a new constitution in 1992, the country has been considered democratic and subsequent elections were lauded free and fair as President Alpha Oumar Konare served his term and retired graciously after 2002.
It's that time of year again - International Women's Day. The time when people around the world take a step back to consider the position of women today, how far we've come and how far we've still got to go.
You might be thinking to yourself, what in the world is International Women's Day? The purpose of these events is to inspire and celebrate women, and I feel, particularly to inspire young women. Showing them that they can achieve whatever they want.
Zahra Ugaas Farah says her mission in life is to champion women's rights in Somalia to promote peace. When war broke out in the early 1990s, Zahra says she could not watch the unfolding chaos and bloodshed without taking action.
Bringing about change is a long-term task, in which girls' education, economic opportunities and women's representation and rights are all key. This is why the UK's programmes and the benefits they bring to Afghan women and girls will continue long after British troops come home in 2014.
Women in most parts of the world struggle particularly to obtain a loan, access suitable savings products or even to simply open a bank account. Accessing capital is the challenge that continues to come up as a top priority across many of the programmes supporting women entrepreneurs.
We have made progress at work, in education and public services, and in pensions and child care, but we seem to have gone backwards in the public portrayal of women and the impact that is having on our self-esteem and the way men treat us.
Emerging markets are not making use of women's talents and are facilitating an environment that is not only stunting for female aspirations, but can also become dangerous for women, which was illustrated by the shooting of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban for campaigning for women's rights to education.