Here is the opening of this young woman's essay. My comments are in brackets.
Between cultures and continents there are varying degrees of gender stratification. Some cultures rely on nature or religion to justify the status of women in their society. The Holy Bible is an important religious text that is used to justify perceived differences between men and women. ["perceived differences"... not real differences?] An examination of women’s status in the Holy Bible can be divided into three areas of study: The Old Testament, the Gospels of Jesus, and the New Testament Epistles. In the Old Testament women are represented as inferior to men and are considered the property of men. [Inferior? Most of the women named in the Bible were of high social rank as the wives and daughters of ruler-priests.] With the coming of Jesus Christ a revolutionary new message was preached. Women and men are represented as equals before God and in the early Church. [Jesus' treatment of the women he interacted with stands in stark contrast to the treatment of women in the period of the Second Temple which was generally worse than during the time of Jesus' Habiru/Hebrew ancestors. The Church Fathers do not view men and women as equal in authority.] After the death of Christ new doctrine gradually reverted the role of women to the way it was before the time of Jesus. [This is historically inaccurate. The Justinian code elevated the status of women and provided special protections for them.] Both the Old Testament and the New Testament appeal to the authority of God and his messengers to support their constructed gender roles. ["Constructed gender roles?" Who constructed them? When were they constructed?] In both the Old and the New Testament the same God is used to justify different views on women. [What are these different views? Please specify the contradictions!] Although gender characteristics are often presented as being natural and integrally connected to sex, the changing status of women throughout the Holy Bible shows that people and not God construct gender.[Assuming gender has to do with human anatomy, body chemistry and psychological wiring, I am amazed that anyone could claim to have constructed gender.]
The Old Testament contains many passages that dictate the status of women. The very first book, Genesis, establishes women as inferior to men in creation and in social position. As a creation story the words of Genesis are sacred and are attributed directly to God. Although the first chapter of Genesis describes God as creating both the male and female at the same time, suggesting equality between the two, the second chapter says that man was made first and that woman was made from a part of man to be his helper. The term helper may be seen as suggesting either an equal or an inferior status for Eve. Her inferiority is firmly established in Genesis 3:16 when God discovers that she has eaten from the tree of knowledge.
In Genesis 3:15 God declares that the Woman will bring forth the Seed who will crush the Serpent's head, but in the next verse God declares her to have an inferior status. Wow! Almost renders one speechless.
Related reading: The Bible as the Woman's Story; Survey of Women in Genesis; Kushite Wives; The Daughters of Horite Priests; The Status of Women in Ancient Egypt and Arabia; Women Rulers in Ancient Israel