Use the adjective regressive to describe something that moves backward instead of forward, like a society that grants women fewer and fewer rights each year.

To understand the word regressive, it's helpful to know that its antonym, or opposite, is progressive. When something is progressive, it tends to get better and more advanced. Something that's regressive, on the other hand, gets less developed or returns to an older state. Since the late 1800s, regressive has also labeled a kind of tax policy that rewards those who make more money and punishes those who make less.

Definitions of regressive
  1. adjective
    opposing progress; returning to a former less advanced state
    directed or facing toward the back or rear
    atavistic, throwback
    characteristic of an atavist
    retrograde, retrogressive
    going from better to worse
    returning, reverting
    tending to return to an earlier state
    unmodernised, unmodernized
    not brought up to date
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    favoring or promoting progress
    at or near or directed toward the front
    having highly developed industries
    advanced, forward-looking, innovative, modern
    ahead of the times
    advancing, forward, forward-moving
    moving forward
    modernised, modernized
    brought up to date
    the highest level of development at a particular time (especially the present time)
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  2. adjective
    (of taxes) adjusted so that the rate decreases as the amount of income increases
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    (of taxes) adjusted so that the rate increases as the amount of income increases
    (of taxes) gradually decreasing in rate on sums below a certain amount
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