It seems that 1 Corintians 11:16 can be translated in different ways:
But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God. (KJV)
If any one is disposed to be contentious, we recognize no other practice, nor do the churches of God. (RSV)These two translations are opposite to eachother. One translations says we have no such custom, the other says we have no other practise.
First I looked up the word custom/practise. The Greek word sunetheia means contact, everyday life, or habituation, custom, practise, habit. In my opinion it then can not refer to being contentious. 'To want to have the last word' is not a daily habit, not a cultural tradition...
The Dutch Studiebijbel comments on verse 16 that Paul means that:
it is not the custom of the other churches for women to come to the meetings with uncovered heads...That would explain the RSV translation, the text is presented as 'we have no other custom (than covering the head.)' But I still find the RSV variant a strange translation when I examine the Greek (as a lay person.) The Greek word toioutos (such as this, of this kind or sort) does not appear to have any meaning like no other (custom.)
William Welty (see page 2) assumes that the custom in verse 16 refers to the veiling of women. In his interpretation, the other churches did not have such custom.
So there is (and was) no obligation of head covering. However, what is very clear in 1 Corintians 11 is that women were involved in public speaking in the church meetings (see verse 5!)
The original post in Dutch can be found here.