Extracts from Kayla Theresa Natrella's Witchcraft and Women:
A Historiography of Witchcraft as Gender History
mentioned in rougon's answer:
sorceresses filled the role of midwives in every country, and were the only healers for women, because no woman in that period would have consulted or trusted a male physician
Ehrenreich and English:
correlation between the rise of the European medical profession and the persecution of female healers: “for as the number of more or less qualified practitioners rose, so they became more anxious to exclude rivals.”
women were feared as sources of disorder and as sexual beings in a patriarchal society. Barstow saw the sexual themes in demonological texts as proof that man’s fear of women as sexual beings was the underlying rationale for the witch persecutions
she introduces the distinction between sex-related (an act which is predominantly associated with one sex) and sex-specific acts (an act which can only be performed by one sex). She argues that witchcraft is
sex-related and suggests that women were more prone to suspicion because men considered the feminine nature to be malicious, sensual, evil, and irrational.
men viewed women’s “life-bearing and menstruating capacities” as mysterious and dangerous, especially if uncontrolled (by men)
the witch craze’s slaughter of women was the result of the spread of woman-hatred in the spiritually reformed elites
[He] attributes sadism and the appeal of sexuality and violence, to the treatment of accused witches during the witch persecutions
Stuart Clark and Robin Briggs:
the society was one dominated by polarized binary thought. As such, if men are associated with positive attributes, then women must be associated with their negative counterparts. If God is the embodiment of good and the Devil, His polar opposite, then, accordingly, men are innately closer to God and women to the Devil. This is even supported by Eve’s original sin in “Genesis” of the Bible.
wars of religion, disease, and bad harvests due to the “little ice age” already strongly impacted demographics and resources and inspired fear and greater protection of fertility. Furthermore, in such a society, motherhood was the pinnacle of the woman’s life and the ultimate show of success. Since social status correlated so closely with reproductive potential, old women who were past child-bearing years were hated and their barrenness and sexuality regarded with revulsion.
The witch killed babies, ground their corpses into powder, and used that powder to enhance her power. She was the anti-mother.
failure to conceive or carry a fetus to term, as well as masculine impotency, would have been blamed on witchcraft. Since witches attacked women’s abilities to become mothers, then women would naturally have been among the accusers. These witches represented women’s
deeply embedded fears and received the blame for inexplicable loss of life, illness, infertility, poor harvest, etc.
women often were illiterate, men would inscribe the depositions that they submitted and may have intervened in the content
the good housewife carefully managed, conserved, and
protected the household goods. A woman who infringed upon another woman’s territory was
more vulnerable to suspicion of witchcraft, especially if misfortune befell the family.
Early claims written off as "discredited" by the paper:
European witches were the remains of a pre-Christian fertility cult which congregated in covens of thirteen
[...] witches were members of a pre-Christian agrarian cult which influenced the theory that the witch hunt was the Church’s effort completely to eradicate the pagan religion and its worshipper
the intent [of European witch hunts] was to break down and destroy strong women, to dis-member and kill the Goddess, the divine spark of be-ing in women” and to “purify society of the existence and of the potential existence of such women.