Sexism in Bahaism

Baha’i Faith, almost certainly be touted as promoting “equality of men and women” and as such would be a progressive belief almost unique in the world’s religions if it was totally true. The Baha’i Faith claims to support the ideal of equality of men and women as a basic teaching. But full equality of the sexes? Not in the Baha’i Faith as women are deprived the right to be elected as members of the Universal House of Justice. Though Baha’u’llah, the prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith, plainly said that in his religion “women are as men.” What the public generally doesn’t know, is that women are excluded from serving on the religion’s highest governing body, the Universal House of Justice. The Universal House of Justice is the international governing council of the Bahá’í Faith and the center of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant today. The ineligibility of women for membership on the Universal House of Justice the exclusion of women from the House is impossible to change, since that provision occurs in the “authorized interpretations” of Baha’i scripture. The Bahá’í Faith counsel proclaims in understanding of this established provision of the Order of Bahá’u’lláh that membership of the Universal House of Justice is confined to men only, the important point for Bahá’ís to remember is that in the face of the categorical pronouncements in Bahá’í Scripture establishing the equality of men and women, the ineligibility of women for membership on the Universal House of Justice does not constitute evidence of the superiority of men over women. But no matter how they say it is otherwise membership of the Universal House of Justice...

Sexism in Sikhism

Sikh Faith, almost certainly be touted as promoting “equality of men and women” and as such would be a progressive belief almost unique in the world’s religions if it was totally true. Sikh women have equal rights to men supposedly because Waheguru is neither male nor female. Waheguru is a term most often used in Sikhism to refer to God, the Supreme Being or the creator of all the Divine Being [which is claimed to be genderless]. It all sounds wonderful and equal right. The Gurus’ teaching on the role of women is stated as, “we are conceived and born from women. Woman is our life-long friend and keeps the race going. Why should we despise her, the one who gives birth to great men?” – Guru Granth Sahib Ji (the third Guru). The first woman to be remembered in Sikhism is Mata Tripta Ji, the mother of the first and founding guru, Guru Nanak. Well, that still is saying its men that are great because of whom they are and women great only because they can produce great men still sounds like sexism to me. The excuse given for why there was lack of true equality for the history of Sikh women reason many women did not assist with Sikh ceremonies in earlier times was more due to the general prejudices of the period, than any sexist belief. All Sikh men have the last name Singh and all women, have the last name Kaur. Singh means a lion and Kaur means a princess. But is this equal a lion is seen as king but but the woman is...

Sexism in Confucianism

In Confucianism we find the idea of equality between men, but that equality is based on a social hierarchy organized by five basic relations: 1) sovereign to subjects, 2) father to son, 3) husband to wife, 4) older brother to younger brother and 5) friend to friend. This hierarchy establishes relations of dependency between men, including the duty to offer respect from those in a lesser position [to those in a higher position], as well as the duty to show piety from those who have a position of  power [to those who doesn’t] . The relation between the husband and wife shows the position of the woman as one subjugated to the husband within the marriage.  The position of women in Chinese culture can be traced from prehistoric times onwards. Archaeological evidence shows engravings from scapulimancy rituals, we know that women were used as coinage during the Shang dynasty. Confucius’ thought is constantly dwelling in the past, searching for answers to his moral questions in the deeds of distant noble men. For this reason maybe ancestral traditions, motivate some of his ideal social organization supporting Confucius’ sexism. Confucius himself barely mentions women explicitly in his text. It is undeniable that women’s position in Confucianism is inferior in relation to men.  It is often said that Confucianism is sexist. The most famous (or infamous) saying of Confucius about women is “Shaoren and girls are difficult to handle. If you get familiar with them they cease to be humble. If you keep them away, they get resentful.” (Analects 17:25) This sure sounds insulting to women. Over time Confucian teachings were expanded upon. A well-known sexist Confucianism commandments is “Since the age of seven, men and women should not...

Sexism in Jainism

Jainism is frequently referred to as the one truly peaceful religion but is it equal? Jains seem over consensus to life even covering their mouths while walking outside so they cannot accidentally inhale a defenseless bug. This is because the Jain philosophy is that every life form whether it is the smallest bacteria to the largest animal or life form in the Universe is valuable and respected. Surely, the Jains, are enlightened in matters of gender right? Think again. Jainism does not teach that women can gain ultimate spiritual liberation, though a woman could strive to become a man in her next life so she could then reach enlightenment. Moreover, Jains believe, for example, that even microbes in the air and water are sacred life and any action that impacts other living things – such as driving or using electricity – can add to bad karma. Therefore, to Jains the bleeding which occurs in menstruation is thought to kill micro-organisms in the body, making the female body less nonviolent than the male body and the female body more prone to bad karma. Jain tradition places a male monk’s status above a female nun’s. The early svetambara scriptures prevented pregnant women, young women or those who have a small child, to enter to the ranks of nun and although the religion of Jains included women in their religious order of laypersons monks where always double of the number of nuns in those texts. According to the svetambara’s scriptures such as Chhedasutra, women were given lesser authority than their male counterparts. The reasons for this, in the commentaries, were that things...

Sexism in Shintoism

The above image is of the shinto Kanamara Matsuri (“Festival of the Phallus”) held each spring at the Kanayama Shrine in Kawasaki,Japan. The Kanamara Matsuri is centred on a local penis-venerating shrine. The legend being that a sharp-toothed demon (vagina dentata) hid inside the vagina of a young woman and castrated two young men on their wedding nights. As a result, the young woman sought help from a blacksmith, who fashioned an iron phallus to break the demon’s teeth, which led to the enshrinement of penis-venerating. The Kanayama Shrine was popular among prostitutes who wished to pray for protection from sexually transmitted infections. Japan has a patriarchal past still evident in its contemporary society, related in Shinto Japan’s so-called ‘indigenous’ religion, where gender roles are often reinforced through objectification and the targeted use of sight. Male sight, specifically, occupies a privileged position in everything from ancient myths to the modern wedding ritual and continually exerts an oppressive influence on the lives of women, monitoring and impeding their public movements. The twin themes of men dominating women through sight and women building social as well as literal shelters from that sight cut across time and space in ritual practice. It is not quite certain whether in Japan’s early history, the existence of priestesses preceded that of the priests or not. We cannot say whether a golden age of women ever existed or not. Aka fujo “Feminine Pollution” involves the idea of “pollution” in Shinto ritual, which has been used in the past to justify discrimination against a variety of groups, including women. Embedded in the idea of pollution, however, is what a society finds threatening and dangerous to its...