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How far do religious organisations and religious beliefs maintain these systems of inequality which disadvantage women.

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Introduction

How far do religious organisations and religious beliefs maintain these systems of inequality which disadvantage women. Women have not always been subordinate to men where religion is concerned. In fact until about 4,000 years ago the opposite appeared to be so. Large numbers of images of naked, pregnant mother, goddess figures have been uncovered by archaeologists. In the days when people worshipped the gods of nature, the female sex was seen as closer to nature. They represented the mysteries of life and fertility. As Armstrong (1993) put "The Earth produced plants and nourished...the mysteries creativity of the female sex." Armstrong argues that male aggression occurred by the invasion of these societies by more male dominated cultures from the Northern Hemisphere and Middle East, needed a patriarchal rational in order to justify such behaviour. ...read more.

Middle

Christianity is also patriarchal with men made in "the image of God" and women for "the glory of man". There are many female characters in the biblical texts and some are portrayed as acting charitably or bravely, but the prime parts are reserved for males. There is no female equivalent of Moses, for example, all the apostles in the New Testament are male. The most prominent females in the Bible, Eve and Mary serve to reinforce patriarchal idea's regarding the dangers of female sexuality and the virtues of motherhood. Similarly the Qu'ran says that "men are in charge of women". Even Buddhism is dominated by a patriarchal power structure in which the feminine is mainly associated with the secular, powerless and profane. ...read more.

Conclusion

Holm and Bowker (1994) argue that religious organisations developed exclusively for women are the fore runners of the modern women's movement in that they separate women from men and they enhance women's sense of identity. Today, women's order's show a considerable diversity in their beliefs and modes of life. In some convents, sisters dress in full traditional habit and keep to established routines. Other communities, by contrast, have dropped many of the old regulations. Judaism has allowed women to become rabbis since 1972, and even Quakerism has not been oppressive to women. According to Kaursingh (1994) Sikh Gurus pleaded the cause for the emancipation of Indian womanhood, fully supporting them in improving their conditions in society. To conclude, there will never be gender quality in the church so long as notions of gender are attached to the understanding. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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