A place protecting women linked to religious education in a way (2,2,4)
I believe the answer is:
as it were
Here is my best explanation:
'in a way' is the definition.
'a place protecting women linked to religious education' is the subsidiary indication.
'place' becomes 'site' (site is a kind of place**).
'protecting' is an insertion indicator.
'women' becomes 'w'.
'linked to' is a charade indicator (letters next to each other).
'religious education' becomes 're'.
'site' going around 'w' is 'sitwe'.
(Other definitions for as it were that I've seen before include "you may say", "In a kind of way", "Historically ungrammatical", "So to speak", "As if it was actually so", "In sort of", "Just like if really so", "In a manner of speaking", "Seemingly" and "Like".)