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Role and status of women in religious communities in Slovenia

Lora Kočan and Petra Zore (2019) Role and status of women in religious communities in Slovenia. MSc thesis.

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    In the thesis, we address the role and status of women in religious communities in Slovenia. In the theoretical part, we present key concepts about religion, society, patriarchy, and the status of women. We discuss, how society and religion changed historically and what was the status and role of women in society and religious communities. We address the hierarchical organization of religious communities, specifically the established patriarchal relationships, and critically evaluate the gender binarism, which various religions present as natural and the only acceptable position. In the empirical part, we research the role and the position of women in selected religious communities in Slovenia. Our research problem is the status of women in religious communities. We research their benefits of community membership, their roles in the community, their views on the community’s hierarchy, their views on gender equality, on feminism, and on the roles carried out by men. We use qualitative research approach consisting of two methods; the first method is a semi-structured interview with 12 women who identify themselves as belonging to four specific religious communities respectively (Catholicism, Islam, Jehovah’s witnesses, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). The second method we use is the participant observation during which we attended religious gatherings of each religious community. The data gathered by both methods are first coded and then analysed. The research results demonstrate that the status of women is inferior to the status of men in all four religious communities. We demonstrate that women perform lower roles than men in the hierarchical organisation of each community. In the Islamic community almost no significant role is performed by women, such as conducting worship, leadership roles in the community, organisation and coordination of work in the community (e.g. clergy, presidency). Furthermore, we identify differences in women’s roles between particular religious communities: women in Catholic Church perform the highest roles with respect to other three religious communities such as, for example, assisting in organisation of religious gatherings and events. Furthermore, we identify that women, when directly asked about their status, perceived themselves as equal to men – although the answers to indirect questions about their status demonstrate otherwise. Catholic women have the greatest insight into their own status as they stressed the dominance of male priests, while Mormon women and women of Jehovah’s witnesses believed that they are equal to men in all respects. For these women, we argue, equality is less important than positive aspects of the identity with the community (such as inner peace, comfort, support of the community, etc.). Catholic, Muslim, and Mormon women establish relationships with people both inside and outside the community, while the relationships of Jehovah’s witnesses are primarily limited to social relations within the community. With this research, we hope to contribute to the research of the status of women in religious communities, which is a less researched topic in Slovenia. At the same time, we hope to have given a voice to women to express their own views on their role and status.

    Item Type: Thesis (MSc thesis)
    Keywords: role of women in religious communities, women in religion, religious communities, patriarchy, religion
    Number of Pages: 177
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    doc. dr. Veronika TašnerMentor
    doc. dr. Špela RazpotnikComentor
    Link to COBISS: https://plus.si.cobiss.net/opac7/bib/peflj/12452425
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 5748
    Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2019 11:57
    Last Modified: 05 Jun 2019 11:57
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/5748

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