The impact of religion on 19th century British woman.

Essay by lamiraUniversity, Master'sA, March 2003

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Religion has had a great impact on the development of our society; one might even say it was the most important factor in the evolution of western mentality. Women today enjoy a lot more freedom and many liberties that we might take for granted. We often forget that the position of the Western women in today's society is due to a long period of persistent struggle by both women and men over the last couple of centuries. Before, women suffered (even more) from sexual inequality, unequal opportunities and a constant reminder of being the inferior, less important sex. How did these injustices come about? How did society's way-of-thinking eventually change?

Many people believe the role and position of women has been influenced (primarily) by religion and that it was religion that created the separate spheres, dividing the sexes and their importance. In Europe it was mainly Christianity and Judaism that changed woman's status to be subordinate to man.

Historians have discovered that before the birth of Christianity, Judaism and Islam many civilisations worshipped Goddesses and had female leaders and warriors .

Many consider the Bible responsible for the differences between men and women's roles in society. In fact, going back to the Bible, its stories and interpretations, and the teachings of Jesus and the apostles is an important part in understanding the impact religion had on women position in society in the nineteenth century. In Genesis it is described how man (Adam) was created first and how afterwards the first woman (Eve) was created out of his rib.

2:22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

2:23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called...