Women and Fundamentalism

Some argue that a resurgence of religious fundamentalism in recent years in reversing the trend of women's autonomy. 

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Case Studies:


Anti abortionist pro-life groups have opposed womens 'right to choose'. Some extremists have blown up abortion clinics and murdered doctors involved in abortions. 


Hindu fundamentalist groups are so strong in some areas that governments find it difficult to encourage greater freedom for women 

Afghanistan and Iran

Fundamentalist Islamic groups have reinstated women's traditional role 

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Cohen and Kennedy

Reforms such as the above, are done out of fear of womens liberation undermining religion and th foundations of society.

Men are reinpowered.

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Female Religious Ministers

Until recently women have not been able to serve eas priests in many of the worlds religions. This is still the case for some, e.g. Roman Catholics and many Islamic groups. 

The Anglican Church have been using women priests since the 1970's, but only accepted them into the Church of England 1992. 

Simon and Nadell

carried out research on female rabbi's and vicars, they found:

women conducted themselves and thought differently 

women were less formal in their approach to their roles than men

were more people orinentated and more concerntrated with pastoral care 

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Regards Christianity itself as a patriarchal myth, it steam rollered over many polytheistic beliefs that celebrated women and imposed a women hating controlling belief system.

El Sadaawi 

El Sadaawi is a muslim feminist who argues that it is not religion itself which dominates women but the patriarchal control that has developed over time. As religions developed they reflected the patriarchal societies at the time, most scriptures were written by men and men took the lead roles in the religious practices. Women who tried to get involved were often ostracised. 

Holm and Bowker 

Add some balance to the argument in arguing that not all religions are oppressive to women. In many religions women have successfully challenged the male dominance just as they have in other areas of life. 

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