World Religions: Role of Women.

Essay by maguirre2005University, Bachelor'sA+, January 2006

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In human history, we find that women have been mistreated in almost every country or culture. Mistreating and discriminating against women is more the rule than the exemption. Some more than others, world religions follow the same trait. In this paper we will research and discuss the role and impact of women in two of the most important and extended religions in the world, Buddhism and Hinduism.

Women in Hinduism

Women's position in Hinduism has always been unclear. Women were traditionally expected to serve their husbands and to have no autonomous interests. Because Hinduism comes from many different sources and traditions, Hindu sacred writings have many philosophical contradictions. On the one hand, some Hindu sacred writings, predominantly of the earlier period, gave immense value to women and were venerated as a symbol of the divine, on the other hand, other Hindu sacred writings discriminated women to incredible extremes. Women were treated as inferior beings.

For example, long time ago, when a man died, his widow had to commit suicide by throwing herself on his funeral pyre. This was going on for long time until the colonial power (England) forbids it with strict laws. Another example is an old Hindu writing "(Manu 9.3) Her father protects (her) in childhood, her husband protects (her) in youth, and her sons protect (her) in old age; a woman is never fit for independence. "

in addition, law in India is biased against women rights. An article in a New Delhi's newspaper clearly show the extreme discrimination that women suffers in India (IPS , Dec 18, 2004) "India, where extreme patriarchal attitudes

prevail, is about to make a giant step towards gender equality by introducing a bill that would give women an equal share in family property. To be introduced in the ongoing session...