Women, Religion, and Social Change

Women, Religion, and Social Change

Women, Religion, and Social Change

Women, Religion, and Social Change

Synopsis

Women, Religion and Social Change focuses attention on the way in which women from a number of religious traditions have been able to bring about change and the manner in which religions have either facilitated or inhibited women's participation in the process of change."

Excerpt

This book grew out of an interest in expanding the scope of scholarly investigation about the role of women in religion to include a variety of traditions and to encompass a broad span of years. At a time when women in the contemporary world are experiencing both exhilaration at increased opportunities for political, social and economic power and frustration at continuing circumstances of male control of many of the structures of change, it is increasingly important to look afresh at some of the ways in which women in various times and places have succeeded in effecting change. Because such change has often come about through the manipulation and transformation of the very religious institutions and beliefs which had hitherto served to maintain the status quo, new attempts to examine the dynamics of the relationship between women and traditional religious systems in times of transition are needed.

Interest in women's roles and experiences has been heightened by the feminist revolution, which has resulted in the wide range of studies now available on women. Moreover, the study of religion by American and European scholars in the past several decades has broadened considerably, leading to a new recognition of the importance of understanding the experiences of participants in religious traditions outside of the western context. The symposium was the context for a group of scholars to address issues cutting across the two fields of women's studies and history of religions, with specific attention to the ways in which women from a number of religious traditions have been able to effect social change within their respective societies. We see this as part of a continuing attempt to consider such issues as (1) whether there is a shared human experience in the way religious institutions and beliefs have functioned to either facilitate or . . .

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