Today's Woman in World Religions

Today's Woman in World Religions

Today's Woman in World Religions

Today's Woman in World Religions


This book examines how the women's movement is affecting traditional religions and civilizations throughout the world. It reviews cases of global impact in Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Australian aboriginal religion. This volume completes the trilogy devoted to women in world religions, edited by Arvind Sharma. The second book in the series is entitled Religion and Women. The present work surveys the position of women in the religious traditions covered in the first volume of the trilogy, Women in World Religions, placing these traditions in contemporary context."


Arvind Sharma


It is impossible to decipher not only the outcome but even the origins of one's actions. Over a decade ago I undertook to put together a book on world religions in which women scholars would write about the position of women in the religions of the world. It was to be a book by women about women for women -- and for men. As I proceeded to compile such an unprecedented book, this act of academic temerity may have caused me to falter but for the surprising and spontaneous support the project received from all the scholars I approached regarding it.

The success of that book, Women in World Religions (SUNY Press, 1987), also highlighted its limitations: it did not, even if only because it could not, cover as many religions as one would have liked. And while it offered a historical survey of the position of women in the religions it did cover, it did not tackle the contemporary issues pertaining to women in the various traditions. The treatment of the past, howsoever rich, can never be an adequate substitute for the treatment of the present, howsoever turbulent.

I must thank Bill Eastman for responding with enthusiasm to my suggestion that these shortcomings be rectified by the publication of two companion volumes. Religion and Women would extend horizontally the discussion of the position of women beyond the seven traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to include Native American, African, Shinto, Jaina, Zoroastrian, Sikh, and Baha'i religious traditions as well; and Today's Woman in World Religions would extend the discussion of the seven traditions, initiated in Women in World Religions, vertically into contemporary times and thus bring it up to . . .

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