Assess Sociological Explanations for the Relationship Between Gender and Religious Practice and Participation. 33 Marks.

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Many sociologists have different opinions and interpretations on gender and religious participation. Marxist Feminists would argue that religion is oppressing but is seen as patriarchal rather than a capitalistic. Armstrong argues that religion is still largely male dominated even though women participate more than men (57% of those attending a main church or denomination in 2005 were women). She argues this is shows women becoming marginalised, for example orthodox Jews forbid women priests. However Wright argues that Judaism has allowed women to become Rabbis since 1972. Armstrong also argues that women weren’t always depicted as lower than men in sacred texts. Although in Islam women will often pray behind a screen, separate to men and will not be allowed to touch the Qur’an if they’re menstruating. Holm’s argues this is devaluating women within religion. Similarly, Radical Feminists would argue with Marxists because they believe that women are suppressed within religion. Radicals want to get rid of anything patriarchal, including religion. Liberal Feminists criticise them for not acknowledging that not all religion is patriarchal.

Jill Swale argues that traditional forms of religion such as Judaism is patriarchal, for example the Torah was written by only men and continues to be interpreted by only men. Swale argues biases towards women have been created because of this inequality. Although Liberal Feminists agree with Radical and Marxist Feminists that religion is patriarchal, instead of getting rid of them, Liberals argue that they just need to be changed so that they offer total equality between the genders. Holm argues that religions do in fact express equality between the genders, however in practice women are still far from equal. On the other hand, patriarchal oppression of women isn’t universal. For example in Islam, children can choose whether to take…...

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