Why not getting access to free bread trough access of knowledge? That's presuming what symbol could mean and goal behind the book can be anything in that way. For me looks like pursuing forbidden knowledge is the main goal. Much more clear.
You wrote a lot about struggle for woman empowerment but this world doesn't look like women were heavily oppressed. They can be leaders, heavy duty workers, academics, journalists, entrepreneurs etc. Colette is oppressed by Ramos in the same way he is (probably) oppressing pub owners (mafia like). Rasputina was fugitive because of her crimes in the past, not because she is a woman (later added to crimes wielding arcane powers). Women seems to be rather equal in Mfx. Maybe with exception of not being allowed to be obese (and I am not talking about heavy weighted Johanna-class women, Executioner male-female is very good example). There is universal oppression: those with power oppress those without, doesn't matter what gender on both sides.
By the way, wasn't that topic about something else ?