World Religions: Role Of Women. Essay

1329 words - 5 pages

In human history, we find that women have been mistreated in almost every country or culture. Mistreating and discriminating against women is more the rule than the exemption. Some more than others, world religions follow the same trait. In this paper we will research and discuss the role and impact of women in two of the most important and extended religions in the world, Buddhism and Hinduism.Women in HinduismWomen's position in Hinduism has always been unclear. Women were traditionally expected to serve their husbands and to have no autonomous interests. Because Hinduism comes from many different sources and traditions, Hindu sacred writings have many philosophical contradictions. On the one hand, some Hindu sacred writings, predominantly of the earlier period, gave immense value to women and were venerated as a symbol of the divine, on the other hand, other Hindu sacred writings discriminated women to incredible extremes. Women were treated as inferior beings. For example, long time ago, when a man died, his widow had to commit suicide by throwing herself on his funeral pyre. This was going on for long time until the colonial power (England) forbids it with strict laws. Another example is an old Hindu writing "(Manu 9.3) Her father protects (her) in childhood, her husband protects (her) in youth, and her sons protect (her) in old age; a woman is never fit for independence. "in addition, law in India is biased against women rights. An article in a New Delhi's newspaper clearly show the extreme discrimination that women suffers in India (IPS , Dec 18, 2004) "India, where extreme patriarchal attitudesprevail, is about to make a giant step towards gender equality by introducing a bill that would give women an equal share in family property. To be introduced in the ongoing session of Parliament, the Hindu (Amendment) Bill 2004 will remove discriminatory provisions in a law enacted in 1956 that ensured that only males inherit ancestral property. "The IPS news article continues affirming that the women discrimination has its ugliest face in northern India. The article also affirms that ''Discrimination follows women throughlife from the womb to the tomb and ultimately affects the development process in the country itself,''One of the worst types of discrimination against women in Hindu society includes (Wikipedia) "abortion of female fetuses (officially banned in India) and illegal, female infanticide," in addition," The gender ratio has also dropped from 97 women for every 100 men in 1921 to 92.7 women for every 100 men in 1991."As stated before, different Hindu scriptures Positive have different perspective of women rights. Manuscripts as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, while some texts such as the Manu Smriti advocate a restriction of women's rights.The circumstances are slowly changing. Hindu government is making changes to the law to better protect women rights. In addition, the general public is changing its point of view of the position...

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