In general, women are not required to fulfill time-bound commandments, as they are often taking care of family and children, which exempt them from mitzvahs that need to be fulfilled at a specific time. (Although women are certainly allowed to partake in these mitzvahs, and are rewarded for doing so, it is not incumbent upon them.)

However, there are certain time-bound mitzvahs that a woman is required to fulfill, as these mitzvahs commemorate miracles that G‑d performed for the women along with the men. Listening to the reading of Megillat Esther on the holiday of Purim is one such example, for the miracle of Purim applied equally to men and women.

The commandment to sit in a sukkah for seven days was enacted to commemorate the clouds of The miracle of Purim applied equally to men and womenglory that surrounded and protected the Jews while they traveled in the desert from Egypt to Israel. The clouds of glory certainly surrounded and protected the women as well as the men, so seemingly, women should be required to fulfill the commandment of dwelling in a sukkah, despite it being a time-bound commandment. Why, then, are women exempt from this commandment?1

The reason given is one that highlights the unique virtue and purity of the women of the generation that traveled through the desert.

When the Jews received the Torah, Moses ascended to heaven to receive the Tablets. Due to inaccurate calculations, the Jews were afraid that he would not return, and therefore they committed the sin of the golden calf. Following this sin, G‑d removed the protective wall of the clouds of glory that had enveloped the Jewish nation as they traveled. After the Jews repented, and G‑d accepted their penitence, the clouds of glory returned. The commandment of dwelling in a sukkah for seven days was enacted to commemorate the return of the clouds of glory to the Jewish people after the sin of the golden calf.

However, the sin of the golden calf was committed exclusively by the men. The gold and the jewels that were used to form the calf were contributed by the men alone, for the women refused to participate. The women of that generation were on a higher spiritual plane than the men, and they firmly believed that Moses had not abandoned them and that creating a golden calf was wrong. Hence, when G‑d removed the clouds of glory, He removed them exclusively from the men’s camp. The protective walls of the clouds remained with the women, just as they always had. Therefore, on Sukkot, when we celebrate the return of the clouds of glory, women are not required to partake, as the return of the clouds did not pertain to them.2