Since time in sundry, mankind has been a religious being who believes in the existence of some higher power or medium. The boundary of religion expands between thoughts and mystics in an attempt by mankind to experience self-discovery. These religious teachings influence a belief system organized into notions, cults, and practices that are generally synergetic and enclosed in a self-contained structure (Evans, Petkoff, & Rivers, 2015).
Same as men, women are religious. However, their religious freedom is limited to marriage, society, artifacts, and belief systems defining expected behavior. Some of these religious artifacts limit the free will and ability of women to express their freedom. This blog examines religious fundamentals that are detrimental to the scope and ability of the womenfolk to exercise free will.
In nearly all modern societies, religious groupings and associations have limitations on the scope of women’s participation in functions associated with religion. This means that the role of women during any religious function has strict limitations as compared to the male gender (Kiraly & Tyler, 2015). Although women are equally distinct and committed followers of these religious beliefs, they are assigned to lesser roles, which is against the principle of equal rights.
For example, in the Islamic religion, the womenfolk are not allowed to lead in any event or prayer when men are in the gathering. The same scenario is witnessed in the Greek Orthodox churches, Hindu, and Buddhist religious affiliations (Inman, Iceberg, & McKeel, 2014). This is an indication that the mainstream religious settings depict women as lesser beings as compared to men in society.
Religion has played a fundamental role in limiting the female gender’s freedom of choice. Although packaged as a product of freedom of choice, religious grouping across the globe have used their influence to institutionalized clauses directed towards controlling the productive health of the womenfolk. Most of these clauses are extracted from ‘divine’ books that cannot be challenged because they are considered as the epitome of sanctification.
Women have no option but to adhere to these teachings. In research by Parker (2017) on the position of women’s productive health as influenced by religion, the findings revealed that mainstream religious groupings have a direct impact on how women view their sexuality and productivity. For instance, Kiraly and Tyler (2015) note that Catholicism religious grouping opposes family planning in totality and declares it a sin against the deity. A similar trend is present in other religions. These restrictive teachings have adversely and negatively affected the reproductive health of women due to unplanned and constant childbearing.
In all religious groupings, there are clauses defining the role of the male and female gender in society. These teachings are deeply entrenched into religious institutions and transformed into universal laws controlling the conduct of all subscribers. In all the mainstream religious groupings, these teachings have been used to restrict and subject women to control by men (Parker, 2017). For instance, Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, and Christianity teachings dictate that women must submit to their husbands even when subjected to psychological and physical abuse (Association for Progressive Communication, 2016). Although religion is a matter of choice, I concur that it is limiting the role of womenfolk and demeaning to their psychological orientation.
Apparently, religion is a good thing. However, it has been used to push for the male dominance agenda and deny women their right to choose. Therefore, there is a need to empower women to apply critical thinking and open consciousness in practicing religion. Moreover, men should be encouraged to embraced inclusivity and respect for women’s rights.
Association for Progressive Communication. (2016). Violations of freedom of expression in the name of religion increasingly taking place online, impacting women and sexual minorities. Web.
Evans, M. D., Petkoff, P., & Rivers, J. (2015). The changing nature of religious rights under international law. London, UK: Oxford University Press.
Inman, M., Iceberg, E., & McKeel, L. (2014). Do religious affirmations, religious commitments, or general commitments mitigate the negative effects of exposure to thin ideals? Journal for Scientific Study of Religion, 53(1), 38-55.
Kiraly, M., & Tyler, M. (2015). Freedom fallacy: The limits of liberal feminism. Brisbane, Queensland: Connor Court Publishing.
Parker, W. J. (2017). Life’s work: A moral argument for choice. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.