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Evaluate Feminist Views on the Role of Religion in Society Today. (33 Marks)

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Evaluate feminist views on the role of religion in society today. (33 marks)

Feminists argue that in religion there is evidence of an oppression against women. Feminists highlight four main ways in which religion oppresses and subordinates’ women, these are: Sacred texts (feature predominantly male gods and profits as well as being written and interpreted by men. Women in sacred texts are presented in a negative light.); Places of worship (There are often rules preventing women from participating fully, for example, in Islam, women are not able to touch the Qur’an); Religious organization and hierarchy (male dominated- Orthodox Judaism and Catholicism forbid women to become priests); and religious laws and customs (Many religions legitimate and regulate women’s traditional domestic and reproductive role e.g. Catholic Church bans abortion and artificial contraception). These examples clearly show that there is a gender issue in religion, however are these feminist views as valid in todays society as in the past? Some would say that feminist views on the role of religion are valid as they do recognise gender inequality in religion. It is clear that religion is extremely patriarchal from the teachings to the hierarchy. Within religious organisations, women are often found at the bottom of the career ladder, facing the same glass ceiling barrier of prejudice and discrimination that stops them from rising higher up the hierarchy in the workplace. Despite legal obstacles to the appointment of female bishops being removed in 2005, deep opposition remains, and women face what is known as the "stained glass ceiling" that bars them from progress to positions of authority in the church. In Islamic, Catholic and Jewish religions in particular, women are not allowed to be in any position of hierarchy, again showing how male dominated religion is. Armstrong sees...

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