Beliefs in Society - Religion, Gender and Feminism

  • Patriarchal - based on male domination and female subordination.
  • Religion is a patriarchal institution that reflects and perpetuates this inequality between men and women.
  • Religious beliefs functions as a patriarchal ideology that legitimates or justifies female subordination.

Evidence of patriarchal influence in religious belief systems

  • (1) Religious organisations = male dominated.
  • EXAMPLE = Orthodox Judaism, Islam and Catholicism forbid women to become priests or religious leaders.
  • One fifth of all clergy in the Church of England are now women.
  • (2) Places of worship often segregate the sexes.
  • Women's participation may be restricted - they may not be allowed to preach or lead prayers or read from the sacred texts.
  • Taboos that regard menstruation, pregnancy and childbirth as a problem
  • Not allowed in sacred spaces.
  • (3) Religion's attitudes to sexuality.
  • Turner - the be pure in mind and deed by repressing the need for pleasure, especially sexual pleasure.
  • The female presence make celibacy more difficult for men.
  • Watson - their seductiveness may lead men astray.
  • Having to wear the bhurka and veil should male exploitation and repression of women.
  • (4) Sacred texts largely feature the doings of male gods, prophets etc, and are usually written and interpreted by men.
  • EXAMPLES = in the Bible/Qu'ran says 'men are in charge of women'.
  • Christianity is also inherently patriarchal, with men made in 'the image and glory of God' and women made 'for the glory of man'.
  • (5) Religious laws and customs may give women fewer rights than men.
  • EXAMPLE = in access to divorce, how many spouses they may marry, decision-making etc.
  • The Catholic…


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