In spite of great historical upheavals, the law’s attitude to women has retained numerous ambiguities over a long period of time. Unlike the many other legal inequalities that typified the law under the ancien régime, the inequality between men and women has always appeared so self-evident and so ingrained in the structure of society as to justify by itself any form of discrimination. The foundation of this inequality is to be found in seemingly secondary legal arguments whose theory reflected a continuing overlap between civil and criminal law.