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Is religion compatible with feminism?
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Theologists strive to achieve gender equality

Women are increasingly engaging with religion and taking measures to access leading religious roles to challenge the patriarchal values that have emanated from the readings of religious texts. This voice is necessary at the table, as more women at the table will read religious texts in an egalitarian manner.

The Argument

There are feminist theologists in every mainstream religion vocalizing challenges to patriarchal norms in religion. These theologists challenge the way in which texts are interpreted to bring patriarchal values into being and some practices that are harmful to women. For example, the Sisters in Islam movement raises awareness of women's rights within Islam, and the Sikh Feminist Research Institute the Sikh community to challenge gender-based oppression. Ezrat Nashim was created within the Jewish community to enable both sexes to achieve leadership roles equally. Women are still underrepresented in leading roles in religious institutions. This dynamic is gradually shifting and we are seeing more women take these roles, empowering other women to do so, and raising awareness of controversial issues such as abortion and sexual abuse. This rise is also enabling women in minority groups to serve in public offices. The first Somali American legislator in 2016, Ilhan Omar, was elected in Minnesota House of Representatives. She brought initiatives such as paid parental leave to assist working families. This interaction has also led women to leadership roles in tackling international gender-based violence. Nadia Taha, was a former captive of ISIS. She is a faith leader, and a human rights advocate and became a goodwill ambassador for human trafficking. Women in religious leadership roles are challenging and making changes to the patriarchal values and norms that have presided for centuries. [1]

Counter arguments

Despite more women being at the table, women do face a lot of barriers and prejudices trying to gain access to lead roles in religion. There have been streams of cases where women in religious positions are exploited sexually, and religious leaders cover these up. For example, Patterson, a Southern Baptist Leader was fired when it was discovered that he had not reported two allegations of rape. This was controversial, as even though women signed petitions to bring Patterson's actions into the light, there were also women who supported him. Women are assigned more religious leadership roles, but at the same time, these women are taught conservative patriarchal principles, that man rules over women. Some women even argue that women should not be pastors as they are too emotional, and need to choose what to wear to Church. There are also concerns about the opportunities given to women. Women are given positions to be children's pastors or given secretarial jobs. [2]



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Thursday, 19 Nov 2020 at 00:32 UTC

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