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WOMEN’S QUEST FOR EQUALITY IN RELIGION, CULTURE

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Madam,

There are many reactions one can get from the broad spectrum of society with regards to the headlined topic.

I will only scratch the surface and voice my own reasons on why I feel this is a noble gesture for the whole human species. 

As Strauss once wrote in the 1830s; “We believe in a restoration of all things because everything, each in its own place, is an object of the divine beneficence and is a melodious voice that praises the Creator.” 

He could not have had women in mind, but equally important is that they, too, are an object of the divine beneficence and are the melodious voice that praises the Creator, just as men do. Strauss’ quotes could be taken, therefore, to offer motivation to women, the world over, who have taken the trouble to change their fate of being badly served, disparaged and oppressed by religion and culture.

society

Women have the ability to turn around this badly structured society and make it friendly for all. As one quote says: “A woman is not only capable of giving birth to children, she is also capable of giving birth to herself as a seeker of truth.” 

In place of ‘truth’, I would like to add ‘seeker of independence’. Despite Eswatini’s historic mark when the Anglican Church ordained the first woman as bishop, amid criticism, the elements of misogyny and sexism continue to thrive and their effects still pervade our religions and culture, especially at doctrinal levels. 

One disturbing thing for women in our nation is the unending oppression, segregation and the endemic sexism of our cultural traditions that stubbornly persist to refuse them entry at institutions of vital help. 

It segregates them from their dresses to their status, like women in mourning gown. It is similar behaviours as these that have birthed a new movement conservatives love to hate, feminism, which seems to be characterised by elements of countercultural. 

It is no doubt that equality in every aspect, from the economy to employment opportunities, political spheres and spiritual realm, is the top concern for women today and a priority on the feminist agenda. 

As the largest ‘consumers’ of religion in the world, women have long taken it another step, where they are now fighting for equality in the divine province. They seek to be ordained as pastors and win souls for Christ.

They are justifiable in their pursuit, if we are to once again abide by Strauss’ quotes that our belief is in restoration of all things. 

blessed

This is restoration to the first creation, in which God created both male and female and blessed them. 

This is the creation in which He declared everything good, a creation devoid of paternalistic tendencies. 

Christ himself showed a special regard to women, differing from the rabbis of His days, who despised women. Even though there was not even one woman who was an apostle, Christ included them as his disciples, like Mary and Joanna. 

Some were with him, worth to be called friends, up to the hour of his crucifixion, ‘to care for his needs’. 

Khaya M

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