Gender and Religious Pluralism

Opdracht week 7 Religious Pluralism

Both gender and religion are complex ideas. Both ideas also have to do with identities and identity construction of peoples. These ideas are also applicable to each other and in my opinion cannot be studied without the other. Why can't these to be seen separately? I think religion will always be of influence on gender and gender on religions. Religions forms genderroles, -identities and constructions in a society. But it not only forms, it's also an explanation of why gender should be seen in a certain way. Genderroles, -identities and -constructions also form the religions in a society. But as well as religion explains gender does gender explains religions in certain ways. It also explains why religion is in a certain way.

Woodhead and Heelas (2000: 264-302) talk in their article about difference. People use difference to understand who belongs to the us-group and who belongs to the them-group. On of the ways to make difference is looking at gender, another is looking at religion. These differences are not statically and are under the influence of change all the time. Because difference is so much linked to identity, identity is also not statically.
People not only use differences to know whether or not someone belongs to their group, they also want to give reasons for those differences. These reasons can be found in the social contexts but also in religions. This is why religions can sometimes be conservative and in other times be very liberal. Neitz (1993: 165) discuses this topic in her article. She says that religion an institution is for social control on women, but at the same time be used for egalitarian treatment.
Woodhead and Heelas give the example of Jacquelyn Grant who says: "Womanist theology begins with the experiences of Black women as its point of departure.". This is an example of a religion, which is formed on the basis of gender. Besides this is also an example of women having different views than men. As well as of white women having different views as black women (Woodhead and Heelas 2000: 276-277).
The article of Brusco (1993) shows that a change of religion in a society can change genderroles. She says that the traditional social view on it always was in agreement with the view of the catholic religion on genderroles. Now evangelical Protestantism becomes big in Colombia, especially under women, genderroles change. The boundaries of public-male life and private-female life are redrawn and the spheres are redefined. Because of this the machismo culture slowly changes and becomes more women-friendly.


Brusco, Elizabeth
1993 The Reformation of Machismo: Asceticism and Masculinity among Colombian Evangelicals. In: Virginia Garrard - Burnett and David Stoll (eds.), Rethinking Protestantism in Latin America. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Pp 143-158.

Neitz, Mary Jo
1993 Inequality and Difference: Feminist Research in the Sociology of Religion. In: William H. Swatus Jr. (ed.), A Future for Religion? New Paradigms for Social Analysis. Newburg Park, etc.: SAGE. Pp 165-184.

Woodhead, Linda and Paul Heelas
2000 Difference: Gendered and Ethnic. In: Linda Woodhead and Paul Heelas (eds.), Religion in Modern Times, An Interpretive Anthology. Oxford: Blackwell. Pp 264-302.

Wednesday 01 January 2003 - 10:36 am | | Culture and behaviour, All
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