The wife and mother in Hebrew, is called "akeret habayit," which in English translation means "mainstay of the house. Women have been highly regarded within the Jewish community because they are capable of a great degree of "binah" institution, understanding, intelligence. Volunteer work has allowed women to sharpen leadership and organizational skills.
In , Sally Priesand, became the first woman ordained as a rabbi, in the Reform denomination. The role of women in traditional Judaism has been grossly misrepresented and misunderstood. The position of women is not nearly as lowly as many modern people think; in fact, the position of women in halakhah Jewish Law dating back as far as the biblical period is in some ways better than the position of women under American civil law as recently as a century ago. Islam is a monotheistic religion that was founded in the early seventh century by the prophet, Muhammad.
Although these sources covered a lot, there were still some situations that were left to interpretation.
Thus, Islamic scholars formed a consensus around a set of secondary sources, the most notable being the ijma, qiyas, ijtihad and fatwas. It is important to recognize that the Quran is not a static source with a fixed meaning but a dynamic, versatile one. Although the introduction of Islamic principles was a step in the right direction, men kept the dominant position and women were required to be obedient to their husbands, fathers, and sons.
This was less due to the teachings of the religion than to the cultural norms of the era in which it arose. Before Islam became so widespread, people of the Middle East lived in households in which women were seen as the property of their husbands and were only meant to perform household tasks, ultimately dehumanizing them. It also limited the oppressive privileges of men by restricting polygamy, limiting men to marrying a maximum of four women only, and requiring the husband to take care of each wife equally and properly.
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Muhammad himself had several wives, marrying some who were widows to give them a home and protection. Muslims must observe the five pillars of Islam: praying five times a day, fasting during the month of Ramadan , making a pilgrimage to Mecca , donating to charity, and accepting Allah as the only God and Muhammad as Allah's prophet. Women have restrictions on praying in public, given instead separate private spaces. Also women are not permitted to pray during menstruation as they are not considered clean. If women are pregnant or nursing during the month of Ramadan, they do not need to keep the sunup to sundown daily fasts.
Islam was the first religion ever to give females some equal rights in the Quran. Due to their isolation, it became the responsibility of the ummah , or Muslim community, to pass down the customs and traditions that mold a Muslim women's life. This guidance, sharia, and Islamic scripture outlined the structure for her education, employment opportunities, rights to inheritance, dress, public appearance, domestic 'duties', age of marriage, freedom to consent to marriage, marriage contract, mahr, permissibility of birth control, divorce, sex outside or before marriage, ability to receive justice in case of sex crimes, property rights independent of her husband, and when salat prayers are mandatory for her.
The roles of women in Taoism , have differed from the traditional patriarchy over women in ancient and imperial China. Chinese women had special importance in some Taoist schools that recognized their transcendental abilities to communicate with deities, who frequently granted women with revealed texts and scriptures. Women first came to prominence in the Highest Clarity School , which was founded in the 4th century by a woman, Wei Huacun. Buddhism can be considered to be revolutionary within the social and political realms of ancient India in regards to the role of women.
During this time period, members of the highest Hindu caste, called Brahmins , did not allow women to have any involvement with religious rites or sacred texts of the Vedas.
However, it is argued that Buddhist traditions still have underlying issues pertaining to gender roles. While Buddhist ideologies may be considered a revolutionary step forward in the status of women , many still consider the tradition to be subject to the social and political context of undermining gender issues during its upbringing, and even up to this day. The progression of gender issues, especially between gender and authority, can be seen during the time period of Hinayana Buddhism , when the Buddhist order underwent major reforms of splitting into about 20 different schools.
Alternatively, Khandro Rinpoche , a female lama in Tibetan Buddhism, shows a more optimistic view in regards to women in Buddhism:. When there is a talk about women and Buddhism, I have noticed that people often regard the topic as something new and different. They believe that women in Buddhism has become an important topic because we live in modern times and so many women are practicing the Dharma now.
However, this is not the case. The female sangha has been here for centuries. We are not bringing something new into a 2,year-old tradition. The roots are there, and we are simply re-energizing them. In a YouTube interview on why there are so few female teachers in the Buddhist communities, Rinpoche goes on to say that:. It is because of a lack of education.
It was a very patriarchal society back in the East. Wherever Buddhism grew, these societies were very patriarchal. It limits the opportunity women have to study and be independent — and you have to study and be independent to manifest any kind of realization or understanding…fortunately, that seems to be changing. I really think that opportunities for education have now really increased for women — they are becoming very competitive and learned, and things are going to change.
Rinpoche states that while the underlying nature of the patriarchal system that still exists today creates more obstacles and limitations for women in Buddhism, she believes that there is a changing dynamic and optimistic future for women within the Buddhist community. In Hinduism, women are portrayed as equal or even greater than men. For instance, Kali Ma Dark Mother "is the Hindu goddess of creation, preservation, and goddess of destruction. This leads to a higher status for the woman than the man, because everyone has to respect her in order to have a smooth life and live longer.
Another important female figure is Shakti, a goddess that embodies the energy of the universe, "often appearing to destroy demonic forces and restore balance". While Hinduism portrays women as figures who play an important role in understanding how the world works, women in Hindu society have been marginalized and their importance has been diminished, as a result of "girls being made to feel lesser and not as important as boys".
However, this view of women being treated as property is slowly beginning to change, as Hindu women are pushing for more equality and a change in the perception of women. Jainism is an ancient Indian religion founded around the sixth century BCE. Jainism is inclusive of women.
The religious status of women is a very important aspect of the history of the religion and one of the most critical issues between the oldest religious divisions of the religion, Svetambar and Digambar. The major distinction between these two divisions is the position of women in their societies. Digambar Jains believe that women are not capable of being enlightened, while Svetambar Jains have opposite beliefs, believing that women are able to become renouncers, are capable of enlightenment and can become religious role models. Women, especially among Svetambar Jains, are believed to be deceitful, and that this characteristic is the main foundation of their character, to the extent that rebirth as a woman is a consequence of being deceitful in a former life.
One of their sacred texts states:. As a woman, if her heart is pure, she becomes a man in this world. Women are important in Jainism, playing a major role in its structure nuns and laywomen , making up two of the four categories within the community and participating in the continuation and spread of the religion.
The Jain social structure is patriarchal, with men holding primary leadership roles in the society. Except for modern times, Jain women have been unable to speak for themselves or to tell their stories.
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Almost all the texts regarding Jain women's roles and experiences have been written by monks, who are males. Jain women do have significant roles, however, especially in the performance of rituals. Jain women are nuns and laywomen in this society.
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In the fourfold community, the mendicants monks and nuns center their lives around asceticism. And nuns are dependent and subordinate to monks.
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More years are needed by nuns to gain higher positions in comparison to monks. Although nuns may have seniority in tenure they may be subservient to monks with fewer years in their religious life.
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The laity, which consists of laymen and laywomen, are very important to Jainism for its survival and economic foundation. The laity support the mendicant orders, following rules which create the groundwork of the religion. For example, the doctrine of Jainism places great emphasis on dietary practices. Laywomen play a very important role in ensuring that the rules surrounding dietary practices are followed, as their first and major responsibility is the preparation of meals. According to Sikhism , men and women are two sides of the same coin. There is a system of inter-relation and inter-dependence where man is born of woman, and woman is born of man's seed.
According to Sikhism a man can not feel secure and complete during his life without a woman, and a man's success is related to the love and support of the woman who shares her life with him, and vice versa. Sikhs have had an obligation to treat women as equals, and gender discrimination in Sikh society has not been allowed.
However, gender equality has been difficult to achieve. At the time of the Gurus women were considered very low in society. Both Hindus and Muslims regarded women as inferior and a man's property. Women were treated as mere property whose only value was as a servant or for entertainment. They were considered seducers and distractions from man's spiritual path. Men were allowed polygamy but widows were not allowed to remarry; instead they were encouraged to burn themselves on their husbands funeral pyre suttee.
Child marriage and female infanticide were prevalent and purdah veils were popular for women. Women were also not allowed to inherit any property. Many Hindu women were captured and sold as slaves in foreign Islamic countries. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.