Christianity features images of women holding priest-like poses, while wearing the robes of a priest. But the Catholic church refuses to state that women held the religious position known as the priest, while allowing that they did hold leadership positions. The name would never be that of a priest, however; it would always be a modified interpretation to take away from the prestige of the word in the eyes of the church.
The Catholic church’s unwillingness to state that women served as the holy position of the priest signifies that there is some cultural stigma regarding women. Women are certainly not as prominent as men in the Bible, evident in the gender makeup of the Twelve Apostles. Today women still are not allowed to serve as priests in most divisions of the Catholic church.
Throughout history, women have been shown as powerful and masculine, such as Joan of Arc as well as English queens. So why not, in religion, can women be shown as powerful? I see it as women being depicted as unholy in the eyes of the church, stemming from a past belief that has morphed into a modern segregation of women from religious power. Women are often seen as weak in the Bible, a notion that is true in physical stature, but women are now challenging their gender roles; the percent of women graduating with a college degree has now surpassed that of women.