Religious Patriarchy and the Subjugation of Women in India
Religious patriarchy works as a vehicle for encouraging women to accept gender oppression through religion, in order to maintain the cohesion of the male-dominated gender system in India. Religious patriarchy brings to the forefront many theoretical and political questions regarding the location of women in religion. Examining the politics of location also requires an exploration of the historical, geographical and cultural boundaries which provide the groundwork for political definition. The position of women in religion is actually based on multiple locations that have evolved through integration of complex configurations of language and power. In this presentation, the presenter likens the position of women in patriarchal religion to the control exerted over individuals during the colonial period and continuing during the imperialistic era. This presentation examines religious discourse on women’s position in India by investigating the conditions that produced this discourse, its correlation with male supremacy, and the many ways in which its ideas were deployed to keep women oppressed. The presenter will also explore the intersection of colonial and religious discourses which has produced different meanings of religious patriarchy in India. The presenter will also analyze the growing resistance by women in Kerala, India to dowry-related issues and violence, and the lack of support they are receiving from religion institutions.
Keywords: Gender, Patriarchy, Oppression, Religious Oppression, Women
Dr. Miriam George
Doctoral Candidate, Faculty Of Social Work, University of Toronto