Traditional Islamic societies were in fact much more diverse in their treatment of women because class was a huge factor in determining what rules applied to you and when. The Islamists, taking cues from the Marxists and socialists, seek to literally create a classless Islamic society (see Qutb and Khomeini) and the appropriate thing for this vision is a more uniform interpretation and application of Islamic law, especially with regards to women, as there is no longer a fundamental difference recognized between noble women and other women. Much of the conflict around women in Muslim societies today stems from this predicament: If Islam says men and women are equal, then why do they need to follow different rules and not only that but how do we apply the same standard to all women at all times if we accept all women are equal as well? But this is all based on particularly modern assumptions that would have been foreign to almost any Muslim man or woman 500 years ago when inequality between people, even of the same gender, was taken for granted.
And because Islam did not have a single united Church like Europe, the secular government of the kings held full absolute power and so the religious courts acted more in an adviser capacity to these rulers who were free to govern their domains according to a mixture of tribal law/custom, their own free judgment or suggestions from different competing Islamic clergy, seeking to balance all these different interests in their domains, which more often than not resulted in a more diverse approach to delicate issues
Modern Islamists, following a kind of Marxist-Leninist political vision seeks to collapse everything into one and were defined by their opposition to the more laissez-faire attitude of the kings, especially when it came to social issues.