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Is Religion Bad for Women's Development and the Pursuit of Gender Equality?
Religion and Theology
Pages 8 (2008 words)
Historically, religion was seen as counterproductive to development primarily because religious leaders tended to defend traditional moral standards, romanticize poverty and condemn materialism and wealth.
However, since the Second World War, religions have become increasingly involved in developmental projects and in particular have played a significant role in bringing relief to the poor. For example, in 2006, when the UK’s Minister of finance implemented an immunisation programme for raising 2.1 billion pounds for children under 5 globally, the first significant contributors were Pope Benedict XVI, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Chief Rabbi, the Muslim Council of Britain, the Hindu Forum of Britain and the Network of Sikh Organizations (Clarke & Jennings, 2008). Thus in determining whether or not religion is bad for women’s development and the pursuit of gender equality, it is important to avoid focusing narrowly on extremism and radicalism and to look more closely at the contributions of moderates (Clarke & Jennings, 2008). It is also important to acknowledge that secular approaches to development and the reduction of poverty have proven to be ineffective (Haynes, 2007). For example, despite secular projects in which governments have partnered with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), millions of people around the world, particularly “women and the poor” do not have “adequate healthcare” and/or opportunities for education (Haynes, 2007, p. 9). As a result, there has been a growing belief that secularism and faith-based organizations (FBOs) are both needed to ensure development and poverty reduction. ...
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