Witch trials coincided with enclosure of the commons, and the removal of women from the public sphere and the appropriation of their labour for free. A means to subjugate women who tried to assert themselves.
Tangent: There’s a shoddy (but in some academic circles popular) book called “Caliban and the Witch” about the Early Modern witch craze. The thesis of this book is that the witch panic was a kind of proto-capitalist plot to wipe out resistance to the nascent economic system.
^ I don't think this guy's criticism is particularly good. But interesting to see anyway.