Women's Roles In Religion

1215 Words 5 Pages
Throughout history, the roles of important religious figures have all been dominated by men. However, women also play a significant role in everyday practices. Women’s roles in religion is determined by examining the traditional roles of women, the progression of women’s rights, and women’s roles in religion today.
Although many religions have different beliefs, the traditional roles of women were quite similar. In Christianity, although men and women were equal before God, they had different roles and responsibilities. The woman 's role was to "be the helper" of her husband and he shall "rule over" her (Grace Community Church, 2002). This authority also carried over from the home to the church. In the Bible, no women were ever priests (Ellis,
…show more content…
In Islam, the Qur 'an states that God made men and women equal in value, but different in roles. However, men were ultimately stronger and had more authority. Muhammad also taught that men can marry up to 4 wives but women can have only 1 husband. Women had to be obedient to their husbands (Esposito, 2015). Men could admonish their wives, refuse to share a bed with them, and even beat them. In mosques, women were separated from men, and they could only teach other women (Esherick, 2005). Similar to Christianity, Muslim women were equal to men in theory, but had much lesser rights and freedoms, especially in marriage. Muhammad 's teachings gave husbands the power to make decisions for their wives. Women also face restrictions in their religion practices. In Hinduism, the status of women in the caste system was often below that of the lowest caste, the Shudras. Shakti, female power or energy, must be controlled by men through marriage to be useful (Hunter, 2005). Women were to be governed by their husband, their father, or their sons. They were prohibited from hearing the Vedas, the sacred texts of Hinduism, from engaging in certain rituals, and from holding positions of religious leadership (Kinnard, 2015). Traditional Hinduism …show more content…
They have obtained many more marital rights, personal freedoms, and hold more religious positions of power. In Protestant churches, female ministers have been around for a long time. However, the situation has not changed as much in Catholicism as women still cannot be ordained in any position of power. In Judaism, most sects ordain female rabbis though some do not. In Islam, women are permitted to become scholars or even muftis (teachers), but they cannot become imams. In Hinduism and Buddhism, women cannot become gurus or spiritual mentors. However, some religions such as Sikhism is strong in recognizing the equality of the genders, where women are able to hold important positions (Fiedler, 2010). Women have begun to hold powerful positions in many prominently Western religions such as Christianity and Judaism. Although women are still restricted from religious leadership in Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, significant improvements have been made. In Hinduism, the restrictions on marriage based on caste is mostly not applicable, especially in urban areas. The dowry system has also been mostly abolished (Jayaram, 2015). Polygamy is still legal in many parts of the Islamic world, though it is not as widely practiced in the urban societies (East, 2013). As time progresses, many traditional marital practices are no longer widely enforced on women. They also have gained more freedom in their personal lives. Muslim

Related Documents