12 Religion’s central role in consolidating gender difference and inequality was recognised, explored and critiqued by nineteenth-century feminists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her revising committee in The Woman’s Bible (1985 [orig. UN Women is currently developing its own strategy on “The Role of Religion in Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment”, which is founded on the belief that faith actors are critical in dismantling structures and practices that promote inequality. ©2020 Verizon Media. Recently, the Catholic hierarchy moved to bring the Leadership Conference of Women Religious into line with orthodox Church teachings . Yet, male priests still tell most of the world's women what to think and their message is often anti-feminist. All rights reserved. In countries like the U.S., where there are comparatively few women in politics, there are correspondingly few female ministers and bishops, although protestant denominations and non Christian religions are more open to female clergy than Catholics are. Even if some of their texts are hostile to power and pomp, they cozy up to the politically powerful. This was true in ancient Greece, for example, where priestesses presided over festivals in honor of the god Dionysus, but this was nevertheless a heavily male-dominated society and the priestesses did not advocate female domination. It is not just that the priests are male. The Platform launch was led by UN Women, on behalf of the UN’s Interagency Task Force for Religion and Development(UNFPA/UNIATF), together with UK-Aid/ DFID and the International Partnership for Religion and Sustainable Development (PaRD). Furthermore, gender relations within the religious and cultural communities are a reflection of gender relations within broader society. The spectacle of an all-male task force being brought in to tell women what they must think may seem badly dated. Today is National Voter Registration Day! When one considers that some religions face a crisis of falling priestly vocations, yet refuse to ordain women, it seems that the churches would literally rather die than accept women as equals of men. Religions are useful to political leaders because they can justify steep social hierarchies. In countries of the Middle East, female imams are generally not allowed to lead congregations containing men. One way of analyzing this problem is to ask what sort of society ordains female priests. One way of thinking about this puzzle is to see gender inequality within the broader framework of social inequality. Religion and culture as powerful institutions within society play a major role in shaping gender roles and perpetuating gender inequality and are powerful institutions within society. Closely in line with other advocacy efforts such as UN Women’s Planet 50-50, HeforShe, and the UNITE Campaign, this faith-based Platform endeavours to work with global citizens, in partnership with civil society organizations, public and private sectors, traditional and social media, to engage on gender equality and influence the discourse on women’s rights. Here’s how. These are generally societies in which women have taken strides toward equality in most other professions. In many world religions, women are making inroads in religious professions but the trend is resisted by the Catholic Church that allows women to serve as nuns but bans ordination. It will convene faith-based organizations and civil society groups, bringing together religious leaders and development experts to find ways to effectively pursue the gender-responsive implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. 1895-1898]). “This platform is about planting the seeds of a movement that brings together faith actors and gender equality activists armed with both human rights obligations and moral persuasion,” said Lakshmi Puri, UN Women Deputy Executive Director. This organization of American nuns had been in conflict with the Vatican over issues related to women's rights, including reproductive rights. The Permanent Mission of Canada hosted the event, with UN Women, UNFPA, DFID and … Speech: “The agenda of creating a planet 50-50 cannot come true if religion, religious leaders and faith actors remain outside the conversation”—Lakshmi Puri, Opportunities for NGOs to address the Commission, UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, Deputy Executive Director for Normative Support, UN System Coordination and Programme Results, Deputy Executive Director for Resource Management, Sustainability and Partnerships, Contract templates and general conditions of contract, Macroeconomic policies and social protection, Sustainable Development and Climate Change, Passing and implementing effective laws and policies, Focusing on prevention to stop the violence, Spokesperson on Addressing Sexual Harassment, Women, peace, and security in the work of the UN Security Council, Preventing violent extremism and countering terrorism, Economic empowerment and skills development for young women, Action on ending violence against young women and girls, Engaging boys and young men in gender equality, Flagship programme: Making Every Woman and Girl Count, UN Women Global Innovation Coalition for Change, High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, Gender Focal Points and Focal Points for Women, Training for gender equality and women's empowerment, Gender equality matters in COVID-19 response, Generation Equality Action Pack, March 2020, International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Generation Equality action pack, January 2020, Generation Equality action pack, December 2019, Generation Equality action pack, November 2019: Generation Equality Stands against Rape, Generation Equality action pack, October 2019, International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, In Focus: Climate action by, and for, women, Financing: Why it matters for women and girls, World survey on the role of women in development, Apolitical's 100 Most Influential People in Gender Policy 2019 features UN Women experts, UN Women Deputy Executive Director joins the call to end sexual and gender-based violence in humanitarian crises at the Oslo Conference, UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér visits Kazakhstan, From where I stand: “I believe times have changed and my community needs adapt to this change”, Take five: We need “initiatives to raise the status of women, led by Muslim leaders”. “Faith actors, feminists and social justice movements are forging new partnerships at all levels. Jesus and early Christians lived in a male-dominated society and the Bible reflects this. If you want more female ministers, begin with gender equality in the society! Religions that have been around for a long time tend to accept, or support, the status quo in practice. To be more specific, conservative churches endorse male supremacy in the household for much the same reason that they endorse the power of kings, dictators, oligarchs, and elites. Do you have information you want to share with HuffPost? The official Church of Sweden has ordained women since 1958 and the Lutheran state church of Denmark also ordains women and admits them as bishops. From the deified Pharaohs of Egypt to the divine right of English monarchs, the beneficiaries of inequality used religion to justify their elevated status. Religion itself can also be a driver of the trend toward gender equality. Using a religious lens, this Platform aims to build a unique approach of combining gender equality and faith-based principles to boost the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, ranging from eradicating poverty, to health, environment, and peace and security. With the establishment of more equal social democracies, religion declines as illustrated by the decline of the majority Christianity in Europe. The main objective of the newly-launched Platform is to develop a much needed religious discourse—through a groundswell of support from faith-based communities—that positions women at the centre of the narrative, and recognizes their fundamental human rights, their contributions, role and agency as well as their particular needs. These decrees — which are almost always in some way about regulating women — are issued by religious bodies that are male hegemonies. Most reduce to a single word: conservatism; tradition; family; patriarchy, and so forth. To be more specific, conservative churches endorse male supremacy in the household for much the same reason that they endorse the power of kings, dictators, oligarchs, and elites. Knowledge sharing and advocacy are key pillars of the Platform, and the initiative will showcase best practices, data collection, tools and resources between faith and development communities, building an exchange of ideas and discussions leading to a digital library for resources, and publications. This is a problem because it does not explain why the conserved tradition is biased against women to begin with instead of being biased against men. While religion is historically seen as perpetuating gender norms, society often overlooks feminism’s roots in those seeking equality within religious practice, explains the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University. This Platform is an effort to overcome the barriers and misunderstandings between faith and secular actors to tap into the rich possibilities for collaboration within, inter, across and outside of faith,” she reiterated at the launch event. The roles of men and women can differ between Christian denominations. We made it easy for you to exercise your right to vote. At the launch, a broad range of stakeholders were invited to become part of the Platform, including Member States, religious leaders, faith-based and civil society organizations and women groups, as well as representatives from inter-governmental bodies like Organization of Islamic Council and the UN system. The strategy aims to provide a deeper understanding of faith-based actors and expand the engagement of faith organizations and institutions at all levels of UN Women’s work--normative, programmatic and advocacy--with the goal of achieving gender equality and empowerment. Date: Monday, March 20, 2017 Building on the growing recognition that the role of faith-based organizations in addressing the needs of women and girls is critical, a global Platform on “Gender Equality and Religion” was launched on 15 March at the on-going UN Commission on the Status of Women.. So, if you want women to be better treated by their church, ordain more women! Part of HuffPost Politics. Religion plays a vital role in shaping cultural, social, economic, and political norms in many parts of the world. These narratives would aim to influence local level decisions as well as that of policy and legislation on the national, regional and global level, and become a part of norm-setting and implementation of a progressive gender equality agenda. By endorsing the existing power structure, religions serve a useful function for the powerful whether they are monarchs, or men in a male-dominated society. To say that religious leaders merely mirror the power structure of the society may be an intriguing idea but is there any concrete evidence that anti-feminism in the church is caused by anti-feminism outside the church? So the aversion of religious leaders to gender equality may be a specific case of their more general endorsement of social inequality. Building on the growing recognition that the role of faith-based organizations in addressing the needs of women and girls is critical, a global Platform on “Gender Equality and Religion” was launched on 15 March at the on-going UN Commission on the Status of Women. Gender equality is simply defined as equality in access to opportunity, political, social and economic spheres for all genders. Evidence that religious anti-feminism mirrors the overall society. Popularly floated explanations for clerical opposition to female equality with males are unsatisfying. So the aversion of religious leaders to gender equality may be a specific case of their more general endorsement of social inequality. The Platform seeks to increase women’s leadership and participation in religious institutions, and will draw in as many female religious leaders as possible, providing a space to share their contributions and honing their skills and leadership.
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