At the time of the advent of Maharishi Dayanand, ladies were not given the respect they observed. Study of the vedas and even high education was banned and custom like sati, child marriage, illiteracy were wide spread.
Swami Dayanand had a high respect for ladies. One day Swamiji was going for a walk. There was a temple in the way where some children were playing, Swamiji bowed his head and when the colleagues asked the reason swamiji remarked "don't you see, i have bowed before the four year old girl, semi naked, as a symbol of respect for motherhood."