Originally caste depended upon a person's work, it soon became hereditary. The society was divided based on their occupation and line of descent. There after each person was born into an unalterable social status.
Why was it developed?
It is thought they developed it due to unruly behavior and conflict to help keep order in their communities. It is also said the Aryans wanted to be able to keep their identity apart from the people they defeated in war. Caste also mean’s color. Caste was also a way for them to be able to group the lighter Aryan’s from the darker pre-Aryan population.
What was a woman's role in society?
Women were of lesser rank to men. They were to basically devote themselves to their father’s and then their husbands. Women were in control of the household duties. They were dedicated to family affairs instead of community affairs.
How did the system fit with the teachings of Buddhism and Hinduism?
It did not fit very well considering they did not believe in social classes. Both of those religions ignored social classes. Just because you came from one community they did not see you as any different. Since they felt and taught that way they appealed to the common people. The lower caste members started to flock to the religions.
What overall effect did the caste system have on society?
The cast system had both good and bad effects on the society. It helped by promoting tolerance. It allowed widely different social classes to live peacefully next to each other separated by social structure. Some of the bad effects were that it took certain freedoms away. The caste decided where they were allowed to go, what they could eat and wear, and what their jobs are. Another bad effect was it made the people exposed to prejudice, and stereotyping. These differences in rankings often cause disputes within the society.