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Religion and Women: Chains That Still Bind

Susan Jacoby
Author and reporter

As a freethinker and a feminist, I have always found it baffling that women, as a group, are more religious than men. Every public opinion survey reveals this “faith gap” between the sexes, in spite of the fact that the world’s major religions have treated women as inferior beings throughout most of human history.

Feminism, in both its 19th and 20th century incarnations, was correctly viewed by conventional religious institutions as a threat to the male privilege supposedly decreed by God. In 1885, Elizabeth Cady Stanton delivered a major speech, before a convention of Christian suffragists, on the many ways in which women had been denigrated by religion and had internalized the low opinion of the female sex promulgated by ministers and theologians.

Stanton’s views on religion ensured that she would be written out of women’s history for nearly a century, until the second wave of 20th-century feminists rediscovered her and helped restore her to her rightful place as the founding mother not only of the suffragist movement but of the larger drive for women’s social and economic rights. Here is what she told her shocked audience:

Read the original article at: newsweek

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