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Religion, Feminism, and Environmentalism - Research Paper Example

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Religion, Feminism, and Environmentalism

Women who are both religious and in support of the efforts of the women’s movement have sought common ground in order to actively pursue ecological interests. In comparing Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist faiths in context with women’s movements, it is clear they are actively interested in both principles of equality and ecology where common ground can be found which unites these belief systems. Ecological feminism is a theory that combines feminist ideals and motivations with a concern with preserving the world through ecological perspectives. Warren and Cheney write that “Ecological feminism is a feminism which attempts to unite the demands of the women's movement with those of the ecological movement in order to bring about a world and worldview that are not based on socioeconomic and conceptual structures of domination”. The marriage of the women’s movement and ecological interests is not new and can be seen in many cultures, including in Brazil where the women’s movement and the landless people movement were grew together in order to support the concept of living off of the land in a communal and freedom based environment that was contextually absent of consumerist interests. This was done in order to support the weak and the marginalized in a meaningful and bountiful way.2 It may be that the problems within the environment are some of the most serious problems that are being faced in the 21st century as the economy and the act of working is based upon consumerism which often strips resources and fundamentally changes ecological systems both nonhuman and human.3 The idea of ecological feminist movements are often based upon practical solutions to social problems where in the shadow of patriarchy and male dominance, alternatives to participation in economies where there are disadvantaged women find ways in which to focus on less economically based roots of survival. Hindu The traditions of India were always based upon ecological principles in which sustainability was a driving force behind decision making in relationship to resources. Religious texts such as the Vedas and Puranas supported environmental ethics as well as the Advaita philosophy that “acquires a cosmic character as it considers all living beings to be God’s creation”4 This is the basis of Indian belief systems that place importance on reverence for the Earth. However, industrialization and the formation of larger cities as centers of employment have led to deforestation and he disruption of what had been carefully attended ecologies, specifically affecting women who depend more on the natural world for their sustenance and methods of earning a living. The development of environmental movements have allowed women a common cause that does not run contrary to other cultural belief systems, but allows them to assert themselves into the public discourse. The extremes of poverty sometimes prevent women in India to become activists, but it galvanizes others.5 In India, the issues of ecology and sustainability are integral to the needs of many women who are struggling with extremes of poverty that is heightened by destruction of resources that would have otherwise supported them. As in most nations, women in India are among the poorest demographic, with urbanization pushing women into the workforce at a higher rate of 19.5%, which leaves them in marginalized social positions in low paying jobs.6 The issue of ecological irresponsibility affects these women directly as their tradition and culture is irrevocably changed, the sustainability of the ecology is ...Show more


One of the common principles that one can find in most religions is that mankind has a responsibility to take care of the Earth and to protect the resources that can be found within it…
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Religion, Feminism, and Environmentalism essay example
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