Religion has been an integral part of human history since the dawn of civilization and this explains the relevance of studying gender roles in religion. Different religions have different positions, niche and role for different genders but the role of women has been of great…
This work intends to look into the role of women in Hinduism and Judaism. In order to understand what views the religions hold, the work primarily focuses on religious texts rather than contemporary social reality. This is so because what is practiced in the society is often slightly different from what is prescribed. Admittedly, Hinduism and Judaism are much older than many other religions. (Tuyizere 66).
A look into the position of women in Hindu religion will provide the researcher with a number of contradicting views because while women enjoy equal status with men in some places, cultures, and texts, they seem to face many restrictions in some other cases. The reason may be that Hinduism is not a single religion, but is a union of various religions possessing considerably different views. Anyway, Vedas and Upanishads are considered as the basic tenets of Hinduism, and hence, the research on any subject in Hinduism should begin there.
To begin with, a look into Vedas shows that a daughter is considered inferior to a son. To illustrate, Rig Veda presents the reader with a number of prayers for the birth of sons (Rig Veda I.91.20; III.1.23). These brave and religious sons are considered important because a son is necessary to perform religious rites to the ancestors. Thus, without a son, salvation of ancestors becomes a difficult task (Rig Veda V.85.25). As a result of this position, there is a degree of uneasiness associated with the birth of a girl child (Atharva Veda. VIII. 6. 25). Similarly, a look into Atharva Veda shows various charms and rituals in order to ensure the birth of a son (Atharva Veda VIII.6).
Despite these differences, one can find references indicating equal position enjoyed by boys and girls in the Vedic society. For example, Atharva Veda (XI.5.18) shows that girls spent their early years in Brahmacharya ashram ...
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