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Human rights

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The status of women, currently & throughout history

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Quotations:

  • "The truth is that male religious leaders have had -- and still have -- an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter.Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world." Former President Jimmy Carter, speaking to the Parliament of the World's Religions in 2009-DEC.

  • "... we must come to see that human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals. Without this hard work, time becomes an ally of the primitive forces of social stagnation. So we must help time and realize that the time is always right to do right." Rev.Martin Luther King. Jr.

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Overview of this section:

Almost all oppressed groups in the world are minorities. Women are a notable exception. In spite of wide-spread gender-based abortion in some Asian countries and elsewhere in the world, women still form a slight majority of the human population.

A few centuries ago, the assignment of second class citizenship to women was considered as normal and natural a part of Christianity and many other religions as were human slavery and the execution of homosexuals, witches, and religious dissenters.

Women have achieved impressive advances during the last century, but progress has been uneven across the world. The main impediments to attaining equality have often been a combination of culture and religion. In North America, women have approached near equality in commerce, business, the military, etc. The main hold-outs in North America have been conservative religious denominations, of which the largest are the Roman Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, all of whom restrict or prohibit female ordination.

Essays in this section discuss:

bullet The role and status of women as described in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), where they were generally considered as  property, along with female slaves, male slaves, cattle, etc.
bulletThe radically equal treatment of women by Yeshua of Nazareth (a.k.a. Jesus Christ) and in the very early Christian movements.
bullet The rapid decline of women's rights as the primitive Christian movement matured.
bulletThe current struggle of women who felt called by God to the clergy, but were/are refused ordination by sexist faith groups.
bulletThe struggle of Christian women who find themselves ineligible for employment in conservative religious institutions.
bullet The processes by which Christian denominations change their policies in areas of sexism, racism, homophobia and transphobia. There are surprising similarities among these forms of discrimination.

Topics covered in this section:

bullet Quotations by and about women, from inspirational to hate-filled
 
bulletThe status of women in the Bible and early Christianity

bulletHow religions established, changed, and continue to change their teachings on slavery, the role of women, sexual orientation, and other topics
 
bulletDiscrimination and violence against women:
bulletSeeking ordination as priests or consecration as bishops
 
bulletIn academia and other teaching positions
bulletAt Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
 
bullet "Spare the Rod:" an essay contrasting partnership and dominator cultural models by Riane Eisler
 
bulletRape during wartime
 
bullet Global day of action for Malala Yousafzai & 32 million other girls across the world who are denied education

bullet Books about women in religious leadership

Many women's rights activists and followers do their best to educate others with current events around the world like Chai Ling, a Chinese woman who is looking to protect women by educating her country about the negative effects of the restrictive birthing laws in China.

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Copyright © 2006 to 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2006-MAY-29
Latest update: 2012-APR-05
Author: B.A. Robinson

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