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Gender, Religion And Human Rights In Europe

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Chapter Summary

Given that religion is a fundamental socio-cultural factor, it is necessary to clarify how religious gender models shape socio-political gender roles. This interaction is a global phenomenon, but this chapter focuses on the European situation. The ensuing collapse of androcentrism in Western civilization is a radically new phenomenon in human history, since gender equality never existed in any known society before the 20th-century European welfare states. In the Christian tradition, women have gradually obtained fully human status in terms of being created in God's image, through inculturated interpretation of biblical texts. In a feminist perspective, Christian and Islamic gender models are equally problematic. In both a European and a global perspective, it is necessary to clarify the basic conflict between collective liberty for premodern religions, prescribing millenary gender-specific female rights for women, and the 21st-century actualisation of individual women's universal human rights.

Keywords: Christian tradition; Europe; female rights; human rights; Islamic gender models; religion; religious androcentrism



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