Women Are Pushing for Larger Roles Within Their Traditional Religions January 22, 2019

Women Are Pushing for Larger Roles Within Their Traditional Religions

Emboldened by the #MeToo movement, women around the world are carving out spaces in their religions that are traditionally occupied by men, pushing back against the faith-based rules that limit their opportunities.

… in most of the world’s major religions, women remain relegated to a second-tier status. Women in several faiths are still barred from ordination. Some are banned from praying alongside men and forbidden from stepping foot in some houses of worship altogether. Their attire, from headwear down to the length of their skirts in church, is often restricted.

Many feminist scholars are challenging the rightfulness of long-standing patriarchal traditions in Christianity, Judaism and Islam, calling into question time-honored translations of verses in the Bible, Torah and Quran that have been used to justify a male-dominated hierarchy.

“Women are looking for opportunities to have their voices heard and be more effective in their religious traditions,” said Gina Messina, a religion professor at Ursuline College in Ohio who describes herself as both a feminist and a Catholic theologian. “Using social media is an opportunity to say what they think.”

We’ve seen that pushback in India, where women fought their way into a sacred temple after a court order gave them that right, despite opposition from traditionalists who protested to stop them. Other religions are seeing similar calls for women empowerment within traditional structures.

Those on the outside may be wondering, if these women are feminists, why have anything to do with religion at all? But sometimes, change must be established from the inside. It’s important to remember that one core tenet of feminism is choice: For some women, the choice to leave religion is vital; for others, it’s an act of feminism to stay.

(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)

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