Dismantling Patriarchy: Why religion remains an exclusive domain of men?

Editor's Note:Video Volunteers, a country-wide community journalism network, is running a series to document instances of patriarchy and gender discrimination in the everyday lives of women across India. Firstpost will reproduce select stories in arrangement with Video Volunteers. Read V Geetha, feminist activist, author and social historian's introductory essay, for this series, on the virulence of daily patriarchy in India.

Over the years, women have been breaking stereotypes and occupying male-dominated bastions with great aplomb. Yet, religion remains the one arena worldwide that has denied women an equal footing with their male counterparts.

When Video Volunteers set out to find out what men and women thought about women conducting rituals in temples, the answer was a vehement no. Men and women alike linked it to menstruation — believing that it makes women “impure” for four to six days a month.

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From Sabarimala to Haji Ali to Shani Shingnapur, various religious institutions have held the belief that menstruation makes women’s bodies impure and denied women entry to religious institutions in entirety.

The judiciary has time again struck down such restrictions placed upon women’s entry on the grounds that it violates their constitutional right to equality and in the Sabarimala case asked one crucial question – is religion and spirituality the exclusive domain of men?


Updated Date: Jul 11, 2017 16:08 PM

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