Women and Religion: Global Lives in Focus

ABC-CLIO. (Women and Society Around the World). Aug. 2021. 320p. ed. by Susan M. Shaw. ISBN 9781440871962. $63. REF
This latest title in the “Global Lives and Focus” series demonstrates that religion has long had a major impact upon the lives of women, sometimes in oppressive ways. Shaw (women, gender, and sexuality, Oregon State Univ., Corvallis) “takes a decidedly feminist approach in exploring women in the world’s religions,” examining systematic sexism and the treatment of LGBTQ+ people within faiths such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism. Each of this volume’s eight chapters, which are organized by region (Sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania, etc.), follows the same format, allowing readers to make cross-comparisons. The first part of each chapter depicts the impact of the area’s major religions (as well as smaller, more localized religions) on the lives of the women. The second part examines the primary religious issues faced by women in each of the regions, including the portrayal of women in sacred texts, women in leadership roles, and religious violence toward women. It also includes an introductory essay, a chronology of major events in the world’s religions, photographs, and suggestions for further reading. Beyond religious oppression, Shaw also considers strides made by women (like the Muslim women in London who in 2012 began the Inclusive Mosque Initiative).
VERDICT Highly recommended for students working on research papers or projects. This work will also appeal to anyone interested in learning about the religious lives of women or to those interested in a more inclusive society.
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