The Pythagorean school that the famous Mathematical Wizard set up in Southern Italy over 2,000 years ago, was an illegal destination for women. Because the group was secretive, and the brotherhood tight-lipped, brave women attended the cryptic meetings. Some of the more famous historical names of Pythagorean followers were Plato, Aristotle, Hippocrates and Socrates. Plato is attributed to dispersing theories of the brotherhood throughout Italy and into Egypt where Pythagoras had originally studied and was initiated into Egyptian "Ancient Mysteries". What role Pythagorean's female followers played is unclear but women's role in the spread of Christianity is huge, its growth in ancient Italy is attributed to women convincing the men in their lives to accept the new religion.
Suellen Ocean is the author of the historic novels The Celtic Prince and The Guild available at Amazon, B&N and Ocean-Hose. http://www.pacificsites.com/~oceanhose/