Being female it has long been an issue I have thought about, if God wanted equality, then why did Eve first eat the fruit in the Garden of Eden? Remembering that Jesus, God and the disciples were all male, and women have been persecuted for thousands of years. Mary was thought to be wrong to carry an illegitimate child and Eve first ate the apple. It appears to me that God wished women to be perceived in a negative light. Why? I am a non-Christian who has been brought up in a Christian society.
Because of Judaism and Christianity women are treated much better than they were in other ancient societies. The ancient Romans, for instance, had several levels of society. From the top to bottom they were the patricians, the merchants, slaves, animals, and women. The problem is not how the Bible says women should be treated, but how men choose to ignore the Bible. And it is not just Christians that are at fault. The Qur’an teaches the value of and fair treatment of women. Yet when it comes down to practice, many Muslim men consider women to be inferior. The Qur’an doesn’t teach it directly, but most Muslims teach that it is immensely easier for a man to get into heaven than for a woman to do so.
It is true that the Bible teaches that Eve ate the fruit (probably not an apple) first. Some men have taken that to make her and all women inferior. Paul does teach in 1 Timothy 2:11-15 that the woman is to be silent in the assembly of the church because she was deceived. Yet even that does not mean she is inferior in all things. Women are an important part of every church, as I have pointed out before.
If anyone looked down on Mary because she was apparently having an illegitimate child, that was a fact of life for unmarried women from the beginning of time until about thirty years ago in America, and is still the way things are in most of the world. My personal view, for what little it is worth, is that we should hold the men who fathered their children in as much contempt as the women who may or may not be at fault. As far as Christianity is concerned, it is just as wrong for a man to engage in sex out of wedlock as for a woman to do so. Unfortunately, it just becomes easier to identify her if she gets pregnant.
Jesus was a man. He naturally picked men as his closest disciples. However, he treated women with the utmost respect. He stood up for them when others would put them down. Women were very important to him, because they supported him and the apostles for about three years. He wasn’t taking advantage of their generosity; he was doing his work and they were willingly supporting him while he did so.
Any time women are treated as inferior, it is the fault of sinful men. God did not make women inferior and teaches that they are not.