I've just finished reading this book and I must say it was very interesting. It tells of the religion of the Goddess thousands of years ago that thrived before the arrival of the patriarchal religions. The Goddess, known by many names, was revered as the wise creator and the one source of universal order. Under her, woman's roles were much different and woman brought and sold property and traded at the marketplace. Inheritance of title and property was passed from mother to daughter.
So how did it happen that the Goddess religion ceased to exist? It seems that the patriarchal religions brought forth it's downfall by the wholesale rewriting of the image of the Goddess as a wanton, depraved figure and the wholesale murder of nonbelievers.
But, I'll let you read the book for yourself and come to your own conclusions. It's still available if you are interested.