The women of the Tang and Song Dynasties held a somewhat higher social position than previous dynasties and their contemporaries in other places. These women still had a lower status than men, but they had certain rare privileges as well. However, it is important to keep in mind that these privileges rarely extended to the peasantry.
For instance, during the Song Dynasty, empress dowagers were still involved in the affairs of state and domestic policies. They sometimes used this influence to promote the rights of women. Women emperors even continued under the Tangs, most notably with Wu Zetian, who raised the status of noble women in China. During the Tang Dynasty, women were allowed to hold certain positions within the government bureaucracy. There were even several famous female generals during this period which raised the esteem of women as a whole. In short, the Tang and Song Dynasties were periods in which certain rulers and members of the nobility began to see the usefulness in including women.
Generally, women elsewhere, and even rural Chinese women, lived in less egalitarian societies. Their role was often relegated to family affairs such as raising children and maintaining the household. Among the lower classes, they would also work the fields alongside men or participate in other labor-intensive tasks. In most other cultures' nobility, women were expected to be the silent supporters of their family and usually remained cloistered in the home. They were almost never involved in politics and government.