The Gospels give account of the presence and importance of women in the company of Jesus and His interactions with them. Prominent among them are Mary and Martha, sisters of Lazarus, the friends of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene. The Gospels also mention Mary Magdalene as among the witnesses of the resurrection. But Paul, the founder of Christianity, does not mention any woman witness at the event and women could not become priests or bishops like the men (Kilgo).
Whatever roles women traditionally played in early Christianity, the leaders of the evolving Catholic church clarified that women could not have official positions in the orthodox Church (Kilgo 2006). Paul refers to women, as well as to men, as his fellow evangelists. Sources, like the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, also show that her Christian community regarded her as a disciple, a leader and a major teacher. This same Gospel relates how her brother Peter opposed her activity and suggested that the newly established Orthodox Church, based in Rome, did not approve of it. Another orthodox leader in Africa, Tertullian, denounced similar activities by another woman who was baptizing, preaching and performing other acts, which were not allowed women. As early as in the first centuries, there was a great deal of objection and prejudice towards the role of women in the church (Kilgo).
A study found that the higher one’s educational level goes, the less is his sexist attitude and gender prejudice towards women and that religiosity in a dominantly Catholic country displays benevolent, though not hostile, attitudes towards the genders (Glick 2002). Established religions, like orthodox Catholicism, have consistently practiced and exhibited these sexist attitudes, which justify and reinforce structural inequality between men and women. Responses to interviews and results of the study provided evidence that increasing the level of education could reduce or solve conventional gender inequalities.