Intro to Women's Studies 2010

etsu: 2011-2014

Chapter 12: Religion and Spirituality in Women’s Lives

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This chapter focuses on how religion, the center of many people’s’ lives, affects women. The author talks about how it can both oppress and empower women. In the oppressive section it talks about the four main ways it’s oppressive to women. The first is that religion tends to enforce in women that they are inferior and secondary creatures to men. Religion almost makes it seem like women are a different species. The second way is that religious groups tend to exclude women from sacred rituals. That makes women feel as if they are not as close to their God as men. The third way is that typically in a religious household it is believed that wives must submit to their husbands. Religion also keeps women from having a free sexuality. Religion forbids women from leaving abusive men, getting birth control, and having abortions. This means that religion forbids women from having control over their bodies and lives. The other way is that religions use church- and state-sanctioned rules to control women.
Religion also ahs four main ways of empowering women. Religion allows women to connect with other women in their community through their religious beliefs and meetings. Secondly, women can earn leadership skills through religion. Third, it encourages social activism through religion. Lastly, religion helps women feel connected to the world and like they have a purpose.

It was interesting to read this chapter because I have not had a lot of experience with religion. Usually when I hear about religions and women it’s about how terrible and oppressive religion can be. Religion has always seemed to me to be a male-dominated field. I still believe religion needs to be more women friendly, but it was nice to read for a change about how it can empower women.


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