Contested Feminisms: Women's Religious Leadership and the Politics of Contemporary Western Feminism

Feminism is a relatively recent social movement of radical reform, emerging from the mass political movements of democratisation, secularisation and liberalism that swept across the Western world from the seventeenth century onwards. The first wave of organised feminist political action was articula...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Journal for the academic study of religion
Main Author: McPhillips, Kathleen
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: Equinox Publ. [2016]
In: Journal for the academic study of religion
Year: 2016, Volume: 29, Issue: 2, Pages: 134-149
Standardized Subjects / Keyword chains:B Western world / Feminism / Woman religious leader
RelBib Classification:AB Philosophy of religion; criticism of religion; atheism
AD Sociology of religion; religious policy
Further subjects:B Democratization
B Feminism
B RELIGIOUS leadership
B Secularization
B RELIGIOUS life of women
B Politics
B Reform
B Secularism
Online Access: Presumably Free Access
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Summary:Feminism is a relatively recent social movement of radical reform, emerging from the mass political movements of democratisation, secularisation and liberalism that swept across the Western world from the seventeenth century onwards. The first wave of organised feminist political action was articulated in the abolitionist, temperance and suffrage movements in America and Europe in the mid-nineteenth century and culminated in the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848 in New York State where the women's rights movement was born. Religion was a crucial influence in the work of first wave feminists enjoying close ties to the liberal movements of Protestantism, particularly the Quaker movement. However, as modernity progressed into the twentieth century and secularism became incorporated into statecraft, the influence of religion in the public sphere waned and humanist ethics came to the fore in political life. So, although Christianity had been a primary part of first wave feminism in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, from the 1960s second wave feminism embraced secularism and situated religion as an inherently patriarchal institution, incapable of social change, and has yet to acknowledge the pivotal part that women's religious leadership played in establishing the grounds for contemporary feminist politics. Recently, a third phase of religious feminism, defined as postsecular feminism, shifts the ground yet again to open up new possibilities of engagement between religious and non-religious feminisms. Following on from the first two waves of religious feminism, this third phase holds potential for counter hegemonic action in transforming gender conservative religious institutions, theologies and social practices towards more inclusive, potentially transformative, religious cultures. It also provides space for a new articulation of religious and secular feminist politics.
ISSN:2047-7058
Contains:Enthalten in: Journal for the academic study of religion
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1558/jasr.v29i2.31139