That's great, that you are inspired to learn more! That's the whole point of my site - to go out and learn for yourself. You shouldn't believe what I say any more than you should believe what the Da Vinci Code says.
I don't know that you can blame Christianity necessarily for hurting women - that was already in place. Christianity if anything "cemented" it. And actually they didn't do it to hurt women, as much as they did it to prevent church property from going to kids. They didn't want provable kids coming from church leaders - so the way to plug that hole was to not allow female church leaders. Males could always deny it was their fault
I do think MM was an important person in the life of Christ - much more important than most Christians are told nowadays. Exactly "what she meant" to Jesus, we may never know. But it's good to think that we can have at least *some* positive female role models in the Christian tradition besides the mom, who was long-suffering and patient. Mary the mom was certainly wonderful, but Mary the "believer" deserves just as much praise.