Consider the following passage,
Women attended the mosques as men attended. Hind bint Usayd ibn Hudayr al-Ansariyyah learnt surah Qaf from hearing the Prophet recite it in the prayer. Ibn Jabir and Uthman ibn Abi l-Atikah says: Umm al-Darda was an orphan under the guardianship of Abu l-Darda; she used to come to the mosques with Abi [sic?] l-Darda in two garments [i.e. her head was not covered] and she prayed in the men’s rows, and used to sit in the circles of the teachers learning the Qur’an, until Abu l-Darda asked her one day to join the women’s rows.
This is almost an instructive demonstration of the accommodating attitudes towards women from which we’ve strayed: this orphaned girl was allowed to pray in the men’s rows, until her guardian asked her to pray in the women’s rows—because, I’m hypothesizing, she had reached an appropriate age of womanhood—whereas the contemporary attitude compels young girls who can pray to be separated from their guardians (if male). Only babies and toddlers are allowed to stay with their fathers, such is the urgency of sex segregation and the perceived threat of women engendered by the immature insecurities of patriarchal men. Contemporary masjid culture is fearful and sexist.
The introductory book (to encyclopedia volumes) from which the passage itself is taken, al-Muhaddithat: the women scholars in Islam, is authored by a man who in the first pages dismisses the feminist assertions insisting that historical aberrations from honoring scholarly participation from both sexes have resulted in the deficiency of objectivity and consequently the oppression of women. Amusedly, he compiles his work with the intention of objectivity, but already betrays himself in this impulsive statement, particularly as it is followed by the disclaimer that he is not familiar enough with feminist positions to thoroughly assess them and critique this claim.
In a single framework of presentation, the intellectual dishonesty of reporting past principles that contrast starkly with the approach toward women in a contemporary age, while simultaneously claiming that feminists have no evidence of deviation, is exposed. Indeed, it was once true that the mosques were built around women for the purpose of catering to matrifocal requirements.
On a different note, previously in my comment section I asked for evidence that during the age of the greatest scholars women occasionally prayed sans hi’jab; evidently, I’ve found it.