Women, gender & power: Overview

This module outlines some of the links between faith, gender, power, hierarchy and socialisation. It highlights the negative consequences of patriarchy for both men and women. 

  • Gender roles and expectations are learned. They can and do change over time and, they vary within and between social, cultural and religious groups. Systems of social differentiation, like political status, class, ethnicity, disability and age, shape gender roles; and because they are constructed, they can also be re-constructed by faith leaders and communities to create more equitable gender relations. 
  • Understanding gender is important because a gender-analysis can reveal how patriarchy harms both men and women; understanding the way gender norms are created is also important because once we see how subordination and domination are constructed along the lines of gender and sexuality, it becomes more possible to also see how harmful norms can be changed. 
  • Gender norms and categories are directly related to power. They relate to ways of being that determine one’s position with respect to another. Gender is a relationship and the study of gender identities concerns the exploration of power relationships within the contemporary gender landscape in relation to political, social and religious systems that assign power.