Women and Men: Gender in the Church


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Some of those denominations ordain women to the diaconate , believing this is encouraged by 1 Timothy Some Islamic communities mainly outside the Middle East have recently appointed women as imams , normally with ministries restricted to leading women in prayer and other charitable ministries. Both masculine and feminine deities feature prominently in Hinduism. The identity of the Vedic writers is not known, but the first hymn of the Rigveda is addressed to the masculine deity Agni , and the pantheon of the Vedas is dominated by masculine gods.

The most prominent Avatars of Vishnu are men. Mostly, the traditional religious leaders of Jainism are all men. Siddhartha Gautama the Buddha was a man, but the female Buddha Vajrayogini is very important in Buddhism. In Abrahamic religions, Abraham himself, Moses , David and Elijah are among the most significant leaders documented according to the traditions of the Hebrew Bible. John the Baptist , Jesus and his apostles, and Saul of Tarsus again give the New Testament an impression of the founders and key figures of Christianity being male dominated.

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They were followed by a millennium of theologians known as the Church Fathers. On the other hand, The Virgin Mary , the mother of Jesus of Nazareth, is not associated with leadership or teaching, but is nonetheless a key figure in Catholicism. Fatimah , daughter of Muhammad is regarded by Muslims as an exemplar for men and women. Women serve in higher percentages of leadership in appointed and elected national and international institutions of the religion than in the general population.

However, only men are allowed to be members of the religion's highest governing body, the Universal House of Justice.

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Nakayama Miki was the founder of Tenrikyo , which may be the largest religion to have a woman founder. Ellen G. White was instrumental to the founding of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and is officially considered a prophet by Seventh-day Adventists. Mary Baker Eddy was the founder of the Christian Science movement. Many religions have traditionally practiced sex segregation. In traditional Jewish synagogues , the women's section is separated from the men's section by a wall or curtain called a mechitza. More traditional or 'right wing' Modern Orthodox Judaism, and all forms of Haredi Judaism , requires the mechitza to be of a type which absolutely prevents the men from seeing the women.

Enclosed religious orders are usually segregated by gender. Sex segregation in Islam includes restrictions on interaction between men and women. Men and women also worship separately in most mosques. According to the Quran, women are not permitted to enter the mosque unless they cover their hair with hijabs and their bodies with modest clothing.

Additionally, they are not to wear perfume, nail polish, or any other things that can cause sexual distress to men. For this reason, women pray behind men or in separate rooms from men in order to avoid causing sexual distress to them. Nearly all religions recognize marriage , and many religions also promote views on appropriate gender roles within marriage. Two notable views are Complementarianism and Egalitarianism. In Genesis 3, Adam names his wife Eve "life" because she "was the mother of all living" Genesis The complementarian view of marriage is widely accepted in Christianity, the husband viewed as the leader and wife viewed as the follower.

In mainstream Christian tradition, the relationship between a husband and wife is believed to mirror the relationship between Christ and the Church. This can be seen in Ephesians [22]. The man, Christian traditionalists assert, is meant to be a living martyr for his wife, "giving himself up for her" daily and through acts of unselfish love.


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While this has been the norm for years, some Christians are moving towards more Egalitarian views. What once would've been rejected, gender equality within heterosexual marriage, is now being brought in as a viable option within the faith. Homosexual gender roles within marriage have not been widely expounded upon by Christian churches due to the inconsistency in doctrine regarding the issue across the faith as a whole.

In Islam , a woman's primary responsibility is usually interpreted as fulfilling her role as a wife and mother, whereas women still have the right and are free to work. In regards to guidelines in marriage, a man is allowed to marry a Muslim, Jewish, Sabaean, or Christian woman whereas a woman is only allowed to marry a Muslim man.


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  5. Efforts by Women of Faith to Achieve Gender Equality?
  6. Both genders cannot marry nonbelievers or polytheists. The matter of divorce is discussed in verse of the Qu'ran. The Qu'ran instructs women to wait at least three menstrual periods, called Iddah, before committing to a second marriage. The purpose of the Iddah is to ensure that a woman's pregnancy will be linked to the correct biological father.

    During the three-month waiting period, only the man has the right to initiate a marital reunion if both sides desire to reconcile. This yields a gender equality perspective in the sense that women have power over men in regards to finance parallel to how men have power over women in regards to obedience, both of which are only valid to a reasonable extent. More specifically, a woman is to give up custody of her child if the child is over the age of seven. If a woman gains custody of her child who is under the age of seven, she must still forfeit custody upon the child's seventh birthday.

    Although the Islamic religion requires the woman to repay her dowry, she is also entitled to receive financial support from her former husband if needed. This cycle of financial matters protects the woman's property from being taken advantage of during or after marriage. Both men and women who practiced paganism in ancient civilizations such as Rome and Greece worshiped male and female deities, but goddesses played a much larger role in women's lives. Roman and Greek goddesses' domains often aligned with culturally specific gender expectations at the time which served to perpetrate them in many cases.

    One such expectation of women was to marry at a relatively young age. The quadrennial Bear Festival, known as Arkteia, was held on the outskirts of Athens in honor of Artemis and involved girls ages seven to fourteen. The girls would compete in public athletic events as Greek men sat as onlookers, observing potential wives. Demeter, the goddess of fertility, was a prominent deity due to women's ability to relate to her. The myth surrounding Demeter involves her losing her daughter, Persephone, against her will to Hades and the grief she experiences after the event.

    Aphrodite, too, was honored by similar means. The Catholic Church recognizes conception as the beginning of a human life, thus abortion is prohibited under all circumstances. However, according to the Second Vatican Council, women who have had an abortion but are willing to commit to the right of life are ensured forgiveness. In Hinduism, it is a woman's human duty to produce offspring, thus having an abortion is a violation of that duty. The Vedas, which are age-old sacred Sanskrit texts, suggests that abortion is more sinful than killing a priest or one's own parents.

    Homosexuality is expressly forbidden in many religions, but typically in casuistic rather than apodictic laws. As such, the rationale for such proscriptions is not clearly evident, though avoidance of procreation and contribution to society via establishing families are sometimes offered as pragmatic considerations.

    Efforts by Women of Faith to Achieve Gender Equality - Center for American Progress

    In general, homosexuality is perceived as sinful in conservative movements and fully accepted in liberal movements. For example, the Southern Baptist Christian denomination considers homosexuality a sin whereas the American Baptist denomination perceives homosexuality on an inclusive scale.

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    The feminist study of gender and religion began in the s and '70s, when some scholars and women e. Feminism has engaged with Christians in three main ways:. In contrast, Christian writer and speaker Paul Coughlin [36] argues that male influence in Christianity is overstated, and moreover that a substantial misandric undercurrent has existed in American Protestantism for many decades:. Here are some of the messages Christian men have been told [by religious leaders], some for decades:. His spiritual training has told him that accepting abuse is synonymous with sacrifice, so he sits there and takes it.

    Feminist theology is a movement, [ citation needed ] generally in Christianity and Judaism , [ citation needed ] to reconsider the traditions, practices, scriptures, and theologies of their religion from a feminist perspective.

    Women's Role in the Church

    Likewise, those who practice feminist spirituality may adhere to a feminist re-interpretation of Western monotheistic traditions. In these cases, the notion of God as having a male gender is rejected, and God is not referred to using male pronouns. Many Pagan religions place an emphasis on female divine energy which is manifested as The Goddess. The consensus is unclear on what is considered female and male. During PantheaCon in , a group of Dianic Wiccans performing an all-female ritual turned away trans-women from joining due to their concept of women as capable of experiencing menstruation and childbirth.

    Other pagans, however, have embraced a multitude of gender identities by worshiping transgender, intersex, and queer gods from antiquity, such as Greek god, Hermaphroditus. Some religions, religious scholars and religious have argued that "gender inequality" exists either generally or in certain instances, and have supported a variety of remedies. Sikhs believe in equality of men and women Pierre Chaunu has argued that the influence of Christianity is the main factor leading to equality for women. Priyamvada Gopal , of Churchill College, Cambridge , argues that increased gender equality is indeed a product of Judeo-Christian doctrine, but not exclusive to it.

    She expresses concern that gender equality is used by western countries as a rationale for " neocolonialism ". From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is written like a personal reflection, personal essay, or argumentative essay that states a Wikipedia editor's personal feelings or presents an original argument about a topic. Please help improve it by rewriting it in an encyclopedic style. January Learn how and when to remove this template message.

    The Role of Women

    Main article: Gender of God. Main article: Ordination of women. Further information: Rights and obligations of spouses in Islam. Main article: Homosexuality and religion. This section has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. Learn how and when to remove these template messages.

    Any personal information we collect will be used only internally to serve you, our customers and members, more effectively Read more. Jump to Navigation. CBE International. User Login My account Register. Enter search terms in at least one of the fields below. Narrow your search. Type Filter by Resource Type:. Arise blog post. Book review. Priscilla Papers. Video Resource. Filter by year:. Filter by year e. Join the Cause CBE advances the gospel by equipping Christians to use their God-given talents in leadership and service regardless of gender, ethnicity, or class.

    More resources by James R. Two Views on Women in Ministry. Title: Women and Men: Gender in the Church. Editor: Carol Penner. Publisher: Herald Press. Year: Pages: Language: English.

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    Women and Men: Gender in the Church Women and Men: Gender in the Church

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