In functional societies woman and children are cherished and protected. The survival list of the Titanic is a good example. Men would restrain other men who attempted to get on the life boats so there was space for women and children.
When a society is disintegrating women and children are impediments to survival. Crisis reverses the value of women and children.
Imagine the passengers on a ship escaping from a collapsing society. Alarms sound and the Captain orders "abandon ship. Women and children first," is the command. The women and children are lowered to the sea in lifeboats and not a single man joins them. The fog horn blows and the perfectly functional ship sails away, leaving the women and children behind.
This crisis that reverses the perceived value of women and children is not yet upon us, but the primitive instinct is beginning to manifest in less stable minds.