And G-d created man in his image, in the image of G-d he created him, male and female he created them (Genesis 1, 27). And G-d cast a deep sleep over the man and he slept. And G-d took one of his sides and filled in flesh in it's place (ibid 2, 21). There are 3 parts to the history of women. Part 1 is before the woman was separated from the man (Genesis 1, 27). Part 2 is after the separation (2, 21). And part 3 is after they sinned, and the woman was cursed.
The Talmud discuses why G-d made the entire world come out of only one man (Sanhedrin 37a, 38a). One of the main reasons is in order to prevent class warfare (It's bad enough as it is) like "I'm better then you because I come from A, and you come from B". So now we all come from one person. But the question is what about Eve? How does she fit into all this? Can you say "I'm better then you because I come from a man while you come from a woman?" Of course not! We come from both together.
So this is what happened. G-d first made them connected, the female being back to back with the male, or she was his tail (Brachos 61a). Then they were split into 2 people. And then after they sinned G-d gave her 10 curses (Eruvin 100b). I believe the man also got 10 curses.
So the Talmud asks, "according to the one who says back to back who went first?" And the Talmud answers that most probably the man went first because we learnt that it's forbidden to walk in back of a woman, even your wife. It's a disgrace (Rashi). Marsha explains that by your wife it's not really forbidden, but it's a disgrace for the smaller one to go before the bigger one (You must see Dec 23).
And this all happened before they were separated, and before the curses (When G-d said "he shall rule over you"). G-d never intended to make 2 kings rule the family. Like I said "no class warfare" just 1 couple. And in this couple the smaller half looks up to the bigger half, and they have 2 completely different roles to play. In the beginning (Before the sin) Chava actually called Adam "rebbe" (Out of respect) (Avos de rav nosson 1, 6). She did not call him "my fat hubby meatloaf".
This pecking order is very needed in marriage because it's impossible for 2 kings to run a country. Yes, the queen can have great influence on the king, but she's still the queen not the king. This is a normal marriage. But if the wife is king and the husband queen, "Och In Vay". To this the Talmud says "you're on your own" (See Nov 27, 2010). And if your parents get divorced the pecking order falls off, and you can bring a drink to any one of them first. (Click Nov 21)
But don't worry, G-d is not like human beings. When a human being gets mad at someone he hurts him till the end, but G-d is not like that. He cursed the snake, but wherever the snake goes he has food (Earth). He cursed Cennan, but whatever his master eats he eats. He cursed the woman, BUT EVERYONE RUNS AFTER HER (Yoma, beginning of 75)
I don't see a greater level of misery by women then by men. A woman can be sick, poor, and handicapped, but so can a man. A frummy lady can suffer in 98 degree weather, but so can a frummy man. I once met a big crazy guy in the hospital. And he tells me "you know something, I admire you Jews, you wear a hat and jacket even in the summer. Now that's what you call "cool".
And as far as the woman being the secondary (tail) of the man, this is how G-d made the world, even before the curses. Just look what happened to marriage after the feminists took over and they put 2 kings in every house. MISERY! MISERY! MISERY! Today, if you marry a modern woman you're a fool. Just do the mikvah date in the Upper West Side, and then throw her away!