Those with the most wealth rule the world. As long as the majority of wealth is made and controlled by men, such as Rush Limbaugh, women will be relegated to "assistant" rather than leaders.
Men rarely defer to women. They may act like it, yet smile and remark that the woman is "spunky" (translation being "how cute") when she is passionate about a social or political issue. Placating male demeanors are a transparent means of diminishing any validity the woman expresses, leading me to believe that men are holding on to control and the power in this country. The large numbers of unreported rapes are an illustration of male/female inequality in societies attitude toward women. Many women who suffer through rape do not want to be victimized again by the court system in "proving" it was not their appearance, their dress or their behavior that caused and resulted in a sexual attack.
Our First Lady, Michelle Obama, wife of our President, has been the subject of open, demeaning critiques of her body, size, and fashion by both men and women. Until that time, when women receive the same respect as men, they will remain in the background, in a supporting role, more trophy for the man than equal partner.
There are no absolutes and I refrain from "never", but, in my opinion, we have a ways to go.