The majority of early manuscripts do not show the slightest preference for a masculine Junius. Early Coptic traditions confirm this uniformly and the latest Nestle-Aland version leaves little choice with this interpretation. It's a feminine Junia. 𝕻46 even reads "Julia." And it appears as if every commentator on the passage before the 13th century, including Origines, read a female name there.
The usage of what is often translated as 'notable among the apostles' seems in light of Greek language usage not ambiguous at all. It means inclusively: 'part of a larger group'.
We therefore see a text that greets two more 'apostles', one male and one female.
ἀσπάσασθε Ἀνδρόνικον καὶ Ἰουνίαν, τοὺς συγγενεῖς μου καὶ, συναιχμαλώτους μου, οἵτινές εἰσιν ἐπίσημοι ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις, οἳ καὶ πρὸ ἐμοῦ γέγοναν ἐν Χριστῷ. (Interlinear)
–– U.-K. Plisch: "Die Apostelin Junia: Das Exegetische Problem in Röm 16.7 im Licht von Nestle–Aland27 und der Sahidischen Überlieferung", New Testament Studies, Volume 42, Issue 03, July 1996, pp 477. 478 DOI: 10.1017/S0028688500020932,
An examination of primary usage in Greek and Latin databases confirms the traditional feminine Junia (or possibly Julia) and the time-honored attribution ‘esteemed among the apostles’.
It also demonstrates that the masculine Junias and the attribution ‘well-known to the apostles’ lack grammatical and lexical support.
Indeed, not even one first-century parallel can be adduced. Over against this is the uniform inclusive use of ἐπίσημοι ἐν plus the dative plural usage and the unbroken tradition among the Greek and Latin fathers from Origen in the third century and Ambrose in the fourth through Lombard in the twelfth century of a woman who was not only ‘notable among the apostles’ (insignes or nobiles in apostolis) but lauded as such and situated in the group of 72 that Jesus commissioned and sent out (quod fortassis ex illis septuaginta duobus apostolis fuerint et ipsi nobiles; Haymo, Rabanus Maurus, Hatto of Vercelli, Bruno of Querfurt).
Although Burer and Wallace argue for an exclusive rendering of ἐπίσημοι ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις (‘well-known to the apostles’), all patristic commentators attest to an inclusive understanding (‘prominent among the apostles’). The simple fact is that if native, educated speakers of Greek understood the phrase to be inclusive and Iounian to be feminine, the burden of proof lies with those who would claim otherwise.
Indeed, the burden of proof has not been met. Not even reasonable doubt has been established, for all the extra-biblical parallels adduced support an inclusive understanding. The sole basis is a theological and functional predisposition against the naming of a woman among the first-century cadre of apostles.
Much work has been done by socio-historians in the last two decades that shows the wide-ranging roles of women in first-century Jewish and Greco-Roman culture. First-century Greco-Roman inscriptions, papyri, and statuary show that women under Roman law enjoyed far more freedoms and privileges than has traditionally been supposed. These privileges ranged from equal ownership and disposal of property, the right to terminate a marriage, and sue for child support and custody, to make a will, hold office (both political and religious), swear an oath, and give testimony.
–– Linda Belleville: "Ιουνιαν … επισημοι εν τοις αποστολοις [tr.:"Junia…notable among the apostles"]: A Re-examination of Romans 16.7 in Light of Primary Source Materials", New Testament Studies, 51, pp 231–249, 2005. doi:10.1017/S0028688505000135
For the problem at hand, a better rendering would probably be NIRV (going a bit too far)
NIV: Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.
Yet even more clear than even a recent Catholic version would be:
NGÜ: Grüßt Andronikus und Junia, meine Landsleute, die schon vor mir an Christus geglaubt haben. Sie waren mit mir zusammen im Gefängnis und nehmen unter den Aposteln eine herausragende Stellung ein.
(Greet Andronicus and Junia, my compatriots, who believed in Christ before me. They were with me in prison, and they have a prominent position among the apostles.)