Christianity took shape in the culture of the Roman Empire where elite men held power over lesser men, women, children and slaves. This social structure, called patriarchy (rule of the father), is a pyramid-shaped arrangement where power is always in the hands of a dominant man or group of men. As the church grew and became established, its leaders adopted this pattern for its own internal life. Within this system, some men may be very respectful of women and even love them. But women are of necessity placed in unequal, predetermined roles. Men teach and decide; women listen and obey.
The church reflects this inequality in all of its aspects. Sacred texts, religious symbols, doctrines, moral teachings, canon laws, rituals and governing offices are all designed and led by men. Even God is imagined most often as a powerful patriarch in heaven ruling the earth and its peoples. In turn, this sacred patriarchy justifies the rule of men over women in family and the wider society.
Things haven’t changed much in 2000 years!
Looks like Jamie Mason of NCR thinks so too. Check out her article: