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Role of Women in Different Religions
Posted On 07/28/2020 16:44:35 by lindadriggers

The rights of women have considerably changed throughout the history of humanity. Different historical periods represented various women’s roles and status in the community. However, the historical progress is not the only factor which defines the role and position of the women in the society. To a great extent, religious beliefs, cultural traditions, as well as social, economic and political peculiarities assist in forming the image of a woman and her role. An analysis of different religions and countries allows making various conclusions, regarding the attitudes to women. Interestingly, imaginations about the women’s roles can change, even within one religious movement. An investigation of the role of women assists in making the portrait of an entire country, its interests, values and strategies of development. The current paper attempts to analyze the role of women in Islamic countries (Turkey and Saudi Arabia) and within the worldview of Christian religion (Southern Baptism Church and United Church of Christ), discuss the relevant issues of women rights and examine the position of women, in the religious and political leadershipknown from project paper example.

Women in Islamic Turkey

The treatment of women in the Islamic countries coordinates with the statements and regulations of Quran. Thus, the Islamic traditions point to the gender equality, in terms of their divine origin and capacities to understand God and find salvation in Him. In terms of spirituality, there is no gender differences. Nevertheless, the reality of social life strongly distinguishes between the position of males and females. However, each country introduces its peculiar social, economic and cultural aspects, which also influence the attitude to women and identification of gender roles, in the community. From this point of view, it is important to understand that different Islamic countries confess various values and beliefs, regarding the status and position of women, in the society.

Though modern Turkey pretends to join the European Union and guarantee the high level of protection of the human rights, it is still possible to observe numerous cases of discriminations, especially on the basis of gender. Legally, Turkey does not employ any restrictions, in relations to women. Thus, both sexes can receive education, get a job and make personal choices regarding the martial status and upbringing of children. However, the data speaks about the numerous cases of human trafficking, rapes, murders and home violence, which still occur, on the territory of modern Turkey. Such notorious statistics show that the society does not grant both sexes with the equal statuses and roles.

In 1985, Turkey introduced laws, which legally permit divorces, abortions and contraception as the part of the birth control. Before that, the Turkish women were deprived of the rights to make individual decisions, regarding their pregnancy and marriages. The introduction of these legal regulations is a considerable step towards the improvement of concept of the gender equality. Currently, the women in Turkey can initiate the divorce and use the birth control methods. Moreover, the women in Turkey have the property rights and can preserve their ownerships, even after the divorce. The Islamic principle at hand represents the loyalty to women’s rights and protection of their financial background.

When speaking about the government, Islam and law do not deprive women of the capacity to become a political or religious leader. However, they state there are some positions applicable only for men. They include the roles of the prayer leader or commander of the armed forces among the others. Nevertheless, the women in Islam can obtain the leading positions, according to the Quran and legal regulations. For example, women can perform some functions in the religious government, though they cannot be the supreme leaders. Similarly, they can be involved into the political leadership.

Despite the existence of this permission, the first females entered the Turkish political field only in 1930s. Nowadays, the situation has vastly improved under the influences of the Western civilizations. Particularly, females gained the right to vote, only in the 1930s. However, during a long period, the women in turkey were deprived of many political rights and capacities.

Another advancement in terms of women rights is the cancelation of the necessity to wear special veils. As the Islamic country, Turkey used to adopt special headscarves for women as parts of the essential clothing. However, the legal and political modernization of the country has cancelled this regulation. Nowadays, there are many controversies, regarding this issue, as many women would prefer to wear headscarves, as prescribed by the traditions. In any case, this statement witnesses about the qualitative reorganization of the state, which offer loyal rules and regulations for women.

To sum up, modern Turkish women are granted with many rights, which contributes to their active participation, in the social, political, economic, educational and religious life of the state. The modern Turkish regulations and laws grant female population with the essential rights and capacities, regarding their marital status, health and other life choices. Nevertheless, such changes have occurred only in the 20th century under the influence of the European Union and its values. Before that, the Turkish women did not have sufficient legal security and rights.

Attitudes to Women in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is an Islamic country which considers the statements and studies of Quran as the highest law. Correspondingly, the Islamic outlook defines the position of women, in this country. Although, it is important to mention that the rights of women in Saudi Arabia are even more limited and restricted, than in the neighboring Islamic states. Today, the country is considered to be one of the most conventional states, regarding the treatment of women and granting them with the essential rights and opportunities. Such a situation depends on many internal factors, but mainly it reflects the peculiarities of the Islamic lifestyle and traditional beliefs.

To start with, women in Saudi Arabia are deprived of many rights. For instance, it is the only state which prohibits female driving. Moreover, until 2011, the Saudi Arabian women could not vote and participate in the political life of the country. The last prohibition has been recently cancelled, permitting women to vote during the elections. In addition, women in Saudi Arabia are banned from travelling without guardians, having their own property, starting a business, seeking employment or even undergo medical procedures without the permission of their male relatives. A special law requires each woman to have a male guardian who is responsible for her security and well-being. However, in practice, the existence of this law strongly limits the right of women and violates their privacy.

Secondly, the female population of Saudi Arabia are obliged to wear specific clothing and veils, which cover all parts of the body, except hands and eyes. The Quran states that the women cannot show those parts of the body, which are considered “awrah” or not meant to be revealed. In the Saudi Arabia tradition, all parts of the body are regarded as “awrah”. Therefore, the usage of special veils and thick materials is the contribution to the ancient religious traditions.

Thirdly, the Saudi Arabian law forbids forced marriages. Nevertheless, the practice of making contracts between parents and future husbands still exists. Moreover, women cannot initiative the divorce themselves, as they need the permission from the male guardians. There are many cases that witness home violence, abuses and other crimes in relations to women, caused by the guardians. As a result, the global community asks for cancelling this tradition and providing females with more freedom and social security.

The abortion and contraception are also prohibited, in Saudi Arabia. Illegal abortion can result in criminal charges and even imprisonment. Therefore, this aspect of personal life of women also encounter significant obstacles and threats. The Saudi Arabian court prohibits abortion, even if the pregnancy is the result of rape or a threat to the health of women. Such statements considerably threaten the gender equality and violate the basics of human rights and individual privacy.

At the same time, Saudi Arabian women have access to the education. Nowadays, the majority of university graduates are women. Such a fact shows a tendency to increase, representing the emergence of a new class of educated, intelligent and confident women. Many of them fight against the social injustice and call for the establishment of the gender equality. However, the current situation does not witness about significant improvements, continuing to discriminate women, in many aspects.

As it has been already mentioned, women of Saudi Arabia cannot take part in the political life of the state or pretend to work in the political institutions. The same is true with respect to the religious government and leadership. The Islamic traditions state that women should be submissive and obedient to the men and perform the roles of their assistants. Analogically, they perform the secondary functions, in the religious structures and their government. Females cannot work in the governmental structures as well as perform the religious ritual and praying, presupposed for the men.

Interestingly, the majority of women in Saudi Arabia do not complain about such regulations and regard their country as the closest thing to ideal of the state on the Earth. Such a situation is caused by the strong conventional Islamic beliefs and values which prevail in the community. Moreover, the absence of alternative and importance of the ancient traditions leaves no place for the reorganization and innovations. At the same time, in the recent years, Saudi Arabia has experienced several female protests, connected with the restriction of the gender roles and equality. Thus, it is possible to assume that the contemporary global politics and values can influence the lifestyle of Saudi Arabia and provide women with more rights and capacities.

Role of Women in the Southern Baptism Church

The Southern Baptism Church is known to be of the most conventional and strict movements, within the Christian religion. The church in question accurately follows the studies of the Bible, regarding it the only source of salvation and recommendations about the earthly life. Therefore, the Southern Baptism Church refuses any modifications and variations of the Christianity, introduced by the ecumenical councils and studies of apostles. As a result, the outlook and worldview of the Southern Baptism Church rely exclusively on the Biblical statements and studies of Jesus Christ. These ideas identify the gender roles and position of women, as well.

To start with, the Southern Baptism Church confesses traditional gender roles. The Bible states that God has created a woman from a man, meaning that the primary role belongs to the males. After the first sin, God has punished women, making them dependent on men and asking them for the complete obedience and submissiveness. The contemporary Southern Baptism Church confesses these beliefs and states that women have to take care of their men and help them, in every day. However, it is essential to admit that both men and women have the same rights, regarding the salvation and spirituality. Although, in everyday life, women are not treated equally as men are.

The Southern Baptism Church regards marriage as a sacred act, confirmed by the God. The role of a woman in the marriage comprises of taking care of children and households. It is essential for her to be obedient, patient and loyal the husband, which is defined by the Bible. At the same time, the Southern Baptism Church condemns the divorces and remarriages, if they are caused on the account of the other reason, than the death of a spouse. Obviously, the church cannot compete with the legal statements, which officially allow divorces. However, from the spiritual point of view, divorces are unacceptable and harmful. For example, a divorced person cannot be a pastor or governor of a church. Therefore, the Southern Baptism Church installs strict rules, concerning the divorce and remarriages.

The same is true in relation to the birth control and abortions. Until recently, the Southern Baptism Church used to prohibit all types of contraception and birth control practice, comparing them to the intentional murders. The governors of the church emphasized the divine origin of the humans and condemned the purposeful abortions or even contraception. Nowadays, the name statements of the Southern Baptism Church are more loyal, in comparison with the previous ones. The church allows the usage of calendar method of birth control, though forbidding all other type of contraception. Moreover, abortion or contraception is allowed, if the health conditions of the women require such measures. In this regard, it is possible to conclude that the women in Southern Baptism Church do not possess sufficient rights and autonomy, essential for the protection of individual health and well-being.

The women of the Southern Baptism Church cannot pretend to perform any leading or governing functions. Though there are many discussions about the position of females in the religion, the contemporary policies of the church do not allow them becoming the pastors of church governors. In other words, the women cannot participate in the religious government and leadership. In this context, it is possible to trace a direct inequality of the gender roles and supremacy of men. The Southern Baptists suppose that women should preserve silence in the church, pointing to their passive role in the religion.

Nevertheless, the above-mentioned statements do not apply to political life. Thus, the Southern Baptism Church allows women becoming political figures or governors. Similarly, women possess the essential legal rights to vote and take an active part, in the political life of the state.

Overall, the Southern Baptism Church installs strict regulations and statements, regarding the gender roles and status of women, in the society and religion. To a great extent, its beliefs sound discriminating and unjustified, as they deprive the female population of many essential rights and duties. The Southern Baptisms state that the gender roles and identities are prescribed by the Supreme God and cannot be assigned by the society itself. As a result, it strictly follows the ancient Biblical traditions and values, which determine the status of women. Nevertheless, despite the existence of strict limitations, the attitudes to women seem to improve, in the recent years.

Women in the United Church of Christ

The United Church of Christ follows a qualitatively new approach to the treatment of the Christian religion and explanation of its ideology. To start with, the United Church of Christ is a relatively new Christian church, which has separated from the Protestant denomination. The United Church of Christ regards its mission as the facilitation of living conditions, respect of human individuality and creation of comfortable conditions for each human. Such a mission statement explains why the United Church of Christ treats all individuals equally, despite the social and individual diversities. Correspondingly, it is easy to assume that tis church establishes favorable attitude to women, as well.

In fact, the United Church of Christ confesses the ideas of gender equality in all aspects of human life. According to its doctrine, both men and women have equal statuses, possibilities and opportunities. The United Church of Christ was the first Christian denomination, which approved the solemnization of the same-sex couples. The Church supposes that both of the spouses have the equal rights, duties and obligations. Such an approach breaks up harmful stereotypes about the gender inequality and superiority of one sex over another. It represents the liberal, progressive and innovative doctrine of the church and its loyal treatment of all individuals.

By the same token, the United Church of Christ emphasizes the importance of the reproductive justice, considering that birth control, contraception and abortion are individual choices of every person, which cannot be prohibited by any institutions. According to the church’s mission statement, every individual has a right to decide whether he/she wants to bear and raise children or not. Both decisions are acceptable and significant. The task of the Church is not to oppress or punish individuals, but rather inspire them to make the right choices and avoid the social stereotypes. From this standpoint, the women in the United Church of Christ possess all the essential human rights and responsibilities, which correspond to the contemporary social and legal statements.

Moreover, the United Church of Christ widely condemns violence, harassments and any discriminations of women (Bass 57). Annually, it organizes events aiming to raise the awareness of violence and ways of its reduction. The Church highly appreciates the freedom and liberty of women and calls for the prevention of discrimination and inequality. It promotes positive treatment of women, which brings about the loyal perception of females, on the national and global levels.

When speaking about politics, the United Church of Christ supposes that the political campaigns should be deprived of any religious context (Grant, and Grant 33). In other words, it is inappropriate to use the reminders about religious affiliation or apply to the churches’ support during the political campaigns. However, generally speaking, the Church does not prohibit the participation of its adherent in the political structures and institutions. Since the Church does not make a difference in the gender roles, such a position remains actual in relations to both men and women.

Moreover, the United Church of Christ allows the ordination of women, similarly to the men. As D. Bass (2012) explains, the women can be involved in the performance of different religious tasks and rituals. In the same way, women can be involved in the religious leadership, since the Church confesses the equality of both sexes. This aspect differs from the doctrines and missions of the majority of Christian Churches, though it highly contributes to the promotion of gender equality and rights protection.

Overall, the attitude to women in the United Church of Christ highly evaluates the individual choice and protection of human rights. In contrast to the other Christian movements, this church demonstrates a loyal and favorable approach to the issues of gender and non-violence. The United Church of Christ provides an alternative view on the Christian religion and its place, in the human lives. It proves that the religion can be loyal to the humans, despite their individual differences and social diversities.

Conclusions

To sum up, the role of women differs in terms to the religious, social, cultural and political values and beliefs. The analysis of females’ role in various countries and religions indicates considerable differences in the attitude to women and their rights. Overall, it is possible to conclude that the contemporary religious and legal movements confess the gender equality and grant both sexes with the equal rights and opportunities. However, the analysis of history shows that not all periods were favorable in relations to the women. Moreover, the research shows that even one religion can provide completely different views on the place and position of women, in the society. The examples are the attitudes to women within the ideology of the Sothern Baptism Church and United Church of Christ. While one branch of Christianity confesses strict conventional beliefs, the other one emphasizes the importance of social security and protection of human rights, in the contemporary context. All in all, the issue of gender roles and position of women are quite controversial, and their solutions reflect the values and interests of the corresponding historical period.

 

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