An important feature of the Minoan culture is the social status afforded to women. Not only were women respected, they were also given positions of authority.
One reason is that Minoan culture was very dependent on the children that women gave birth. Even the female deities of the Minoan religion seem to be dominant and represented Mother Nature. Another fact is that the culture was dominant on the sea. While men were away, women would be required to perform many of duties, traditionally perfomed by men.