Gender, religions and development
DOI link for Gender, religions and development
Gender, religions and development book
In this chapter the following question is addressed: Is religion bad for women’s development and the pursuit of gender equality? Until recently, ‘gender and development’ (GAD) programmes within mainstream development agencies and organizations have tended to more or less ignore or reject religion as either a relevant or a potentially positive influence in women’s lives and instead have drawn upon secular styles of feminism that typically consider religion to be backward, primitive and ultimately against women’s best interests. A recent study by Seguino, which relates cross-country data on gender attitudes from the World Values Survey to levels of religiosity, strongly supports the view not only that religiosity ‘is positively associated with gender inequitable attitudes’ (2011: 1310) but also ‘that the effect of religiosity extends beyond attitudes to negatively impact several measures of gendered well-being outcomes’ (ibid.: 1317). While it is impossible for a large-scale survey to adequately capture the diversity within religions as well as between religions, this study does demonstrate the same patterns even once GDP and level of development were controlled for (ibid.: 1317), and also that ‘no major religious denomination stands out as being significantly more strongly associated with gender inequitable attitudes than the others’ (ibid.: 1313).