WOMEN AND GENDER 7
Womenand Gender in Modern World
Womenand Gender in Modern World
Religionis an important tool in shaping women’s lives. It is a positiveforce that drives social change and provides people with alternativesto improve their lives. Although it has served as a social structurefor years, it has been associated with women oppression.
Mostformalized world religions have been tool for women oppression. Theymanifest colonialism and it is in these grounds that labour wasdivided on the basis of sex (Ward and Edelstein, 1999:194).Therefore, religion is an occupation mainly for men. The alliance ofreligion and government causes women to be undermined and their rolerestricted thus making males the immediate beneficiaries.
InOrthodox Jews, men and women are separated during religious services(Phyllis, 2005:231). Women here are not allowed to participate inrituals and focus is mostly on rituals that restrict them fromcertain behaviours rather than those which actively involve them(Brettel & Sargent, 2003). In Islamic states, women undergoFemale Genital Mutilation evident in Somalia where this is done toyoung girls (Phyllis, 2005:256). This is to ensure that girls remainmoral and pure.
Womenbeating have been legalized in Islamic setup. In 2005, Chad tried toinstall law against this harassment but the Muslim law enforcers wereagainst it terming it as being contrary to the religion (Chesler,2005). To add on, Muslims allows polygamy which is another form ofwomen oppression. This practice reduces women to the level of beingtools to satisfy men sexual desires, roots being the Islamic HolyBook. The little regard for women has facilitated great chances fordivorce as men are free to do what they feel like.
Theroots for women oppression in Christian religion is backed from thecreation story. Women came second after men and therefore they are ofless value. It is believed that God created them when he realizedthat man was lonely. It is the therefore God’s will that womenshould submit to men for they were created as helpers. Differentchurches have different perceptions for women. Women are excludedfrom the clergy in Catholic while in Anglican, they can only becomepriests but not bishops. However, the Church of England enforced newlaws in November 2004, regarding women acting as bishops and thefirst Anglican Bishop was therefore elected in 26thJanuary, 2015.
Spiritualoppression has denied women from enjoying various aspects of religionas their male counterparts. It has prevented them from participatingor forced them to take part in some rituals. However, with the riseof affirmative action, religious rights for both male and female haveequalized. It is evident that the 1970,s saw rise of Jewish feminismfor equality (Brettell & Sargent, 1993:136).Women fought foraccess to male rituals like the donning of sacred garments. They seekto demolish those rituals that undermine their rights thusconcentrating on those that favour them.
Spiritualityfocuses on issues concerning the meaning of life in relation totranscendent. Women spirituality refers to women alignment with theirawareness. They carry with them all the important virtues of lifelike power and creativity. Their spirituality can inform contemporarymedical practices in several ways. Birth and menstrual experiences isseen to be integrated in the contemporary medicine (Brettell &Sargent, 199: 188).
Obstetricmedicine is a birth process conducted in hospital although thecontemporary medical has no taken this into consideration. This hasled to complications during and after births. There is therefore needto incorporate the spiritual domain in the process of birth to dealwith the issues involved. Birth should not only be dealt with as aphysical process but also as a spiritual process (Moloney, 2009).
Despitewomen discrimination on religious grounds, it does not means thatthey do not participate in society’s affairs. There are variousreligious practices where they participate as spiritual leaders orherbalists. Women in the Non- Western societies play vital ritualroles of unifying the society (Brettell & Sargent, 1993:395).This is contrary to the Western societies where their role is limitedto secondary practices as a result of men dominance.
Modernizationhas made that role of women in hearing and performing other ritualschange to witchcraft and illogical folklore. Midwife system hasdiminished and hospital services are now available for women inlabour. Religious institutions are the basis of incorporatingknowledge on religion affairs. Even though women lack knowledge basedon religious institutions, it is still credited in the scientificsetup (Ward & Edelstein, 1999:193). Lack of scientificverification for women does not mean that this is an imagination theyhave (Ward & Edelstein, 1999:191).
Lifelessons have various aspects like betrayal, abuses, infertility, lackof financial support and discrimination. This may lead to serioushealth complications which might be difficult to diagnose and treatby modern medical practitioners. Women may therefore involve indivination as a result, even though aware that their intuition lacksscientific proof (Ward & Edelstein, 1999: 200). From the factthat life lessons lack scientific proof, scientific tools cannot beused to diagnose them. This has deterred medical practitionerssuccess in diagnosing and treating the disease a clear indicationthat western medication does not go hand in hand with traditionalmedical women practices. Modern medicine cannot be said to be fullyeffective in the healing process and thus it is important tocorporate traditional women healing endeavors. This involvesaccepting traditional women healing role as illogical and witchcraft.
Spiritualpossession is the view that transcendental beings take control ofhuman body often termed as “Spiritual Possession Syndrome”.Studies show that spirits of the dead usually form a mental orphysical connection with the living leading to emotional and physicalsymptoms and conditions known as “possession disorder”. Womenare known to claim of spirit possession in women-centered religions.The possessed behaves weirdly by mixing languages, spirit controldancing, prescribing medicine and delivering message from the powerin control. This is an involuntary phenomenon as it does not requireauthorization for one to be possessed.
Womenwho have had life lessons are often possessed by Zar-spirits. Zar asa ritual concerns curing via possession states and traces. During aritual ceremony, the spirit enters the woman so that she airs out hermarginalization (Ward & Edelstein, 1999:207). She is therefore inposition to communicate with spiritual world and may experiencevisions that can assist her solve problems in the real world.
Thehealing rituals together with spirit possession do not necessarilyimply that the women are crazy, rather, the rituals acknowledgesreality of suffering. Even when females have beliefs based onintuition, males always require them to give evidence on thesefeelings (Ward & Edelstein, 1999:198). The healing ritualscarried out by women provide evidence that the world has realsuffering and curing this disease is essential regardlessunavailability of scientific nomenclature. The fact that healingwomen experience pain and suffering implies that they are not crazy.Their behaviours can be termed as illegitimate only if it isinconsistent with their cult’s conception of spirits.
Inconclusion, women spirituality has been dismissed by men not as aresult of rationality or substance but due to subordination. Whenthey acknowledge their possession, they can lead a successful lifeand their sufferings get reduced. To add on, instead of categorizingspirit possession as an illness of mind, it is important toincorporate it in modern medicine for it handles life sufferings thatmodern medicine cannot. By doing this, their suffering will no longerbe ignored by religious institutions and medical professionals.
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