Specifically, the word sexism appears in Leet's forum contribution "Women and the Undergraduate", and she defines it by comparing it to racism, stating in part (on page 3): "When you argue ...
that since fewer women write good poetry this justifies their total exclusion, you are taking a position analogous to that of the racist—I might call you in this case a 'sexist' ...
In 1957, James Everett, then Minister for Justice in Ireland, stated that: "The progress of organised society is judged by the status occupied by married women." Restrictions on married women's rights were common in Western countries until a few decades ago: for instance, French married women obtained the right to work without their husband's permission in 1965, During the Franco era, in Spain, a married woman required her husband's consent (called permiso marital) for employment, ownership of property and traveling away from home; the permiso marital was abolished in 1975.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Family Code states that the husband is the head of the household; the wife owes her obedience to her husband; a wife has to live with her husband wherever he chooses to live; and wives must have their husbands' authorization to bring a case in court or to initiate other legal proceedings.
What else is woman but a foe to friendship, an inescapable punishment, a necessary evil, a natural temptation, a desirable calamity, a domestic danger, a delectable detriment, an evil of nature, painted with fair colours! and English law observed the system of coverture, where "by marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law; that is the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage".
When women are targeted for accusations of witchcraft and subsequent violence, it is often the case that several forms of discrimination interact - for example discrimination based on gender with discrimination based on caste, as is the case in India and Nepal, where such crimes are relatively common. A similar legal doctrine, named marital power, existed under Roman Dutch law (and is still partially in force in present-day Swaziland).
In early modern Europe and in the European colonies in North America claims were made that witches were a threat to Christendom.
The misogyny of that period played a role in the persecution of these women.
All wickedness is but little to the wickedness of a woman ...
These transactions often serve as legitimizing coercive control of the wife by her husband and in giving him authority over her; for instance Article 13 of the Code of Personal Status (Tunisia) states that "The husband shall not, in default of payment of the dower, force the woman to consummate the marriage", implying that, if the dower is paid, marital rape is permitted (in this regard, critics have questioned the alleged gains of women in Tunisia, and its image as a progressive country in the region, arguing that discrimination against women remains very strong in that country).
Sexism is intended to rhyme with racism." Title page of the seventh Cologne edition of the Malleus Maleficarum, 1520 (from the University of Sydney Library).