Religion and gender inequality: The status of women in the societies of world religions

Open access

Abstract

The status of women in society is very diverse worldwide. Among many important traits associated with the differentiation of gender inequality is religion, which itself must be regarded as a fluid concept with interpretations and practices ‘embedded’ and thus varying with respect to cultural and historical relations. Admitting the complexity of the issues, some religious norms and traditions can contribute to the formation of gender inequalities and to subordinate the role of women in society. Using an exploratory quantitative analysis, the influence of religiosity on gender inequality in social, economic and political spheres is examined. Three categories of states have emerged from the analysis: (a) states where the majority of inhabitants are without religious affiliation, which display the lowest levels of gender inequality; (b) Christian and Buddhist societies, with average levels of gender inequality; and (c) states with the highest levels of gender inequality across the observed variables, whose inhabitants adhere to Islam and Hinduism.

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