The Status and Role of Women in Hinduism and Sikhism
Monday July 4th, 2011.
Religion plays a crucial role in the daily lives of millions of people. This is even more evident in India. Hinduism and Sikhism are two very prominent religions in this nation (Pinkham, 1967). These two religions are closely linked but also have many distinct practices. Issues of the position of women in society, attitudes towards the caste system, and methods of worship are critical aspects of both religions. Among the many distinct practices that are shared between the religions of Hinduism and Sikhism is the status of women. In Hinduism, women can attain a certain status in that they can either become a nun or priestesses. In Sikhism, women do not attain a certain status within the Sikh culture because to them women are equal to men in the eyes of their God (Pinkham, 1967). In this essay I will argue that by having such opposing views towards women in the Hinduism and Sikhism culture, it gives a clear understanding of the way in which women are portrayed among Hindu’s and Sikhs; as these two dominant religions have very different conceptions of women as well as their level of importance within their cultures.
One of the reasons why religion continues to be a critical factor today is due to its influence on status and social hierarchies. The status of women and attitudes towards the caste system in the traditional Hinduism and Sikhism involve some very important differences (Wadley, 1977). The role of women in marriage traditional Hindu beliefs is that of submissiveness and obedience. This traditional role of serving the husband and taking care of the children is emphasized in figures from Hindu mythology such as Sita who was the beautiful wife of Rama, the hero of Ramayana; and Savitri which symbolizes a faithful wife (Oxtoby, 2010). These mythology figures represented faithful beings and reflected Hindu women because they...
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Oxtoby, W. (2010). World Religions: Eastern Traditions. Canada: Oxford University Press
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Pinkham, M. (1967). Women in the sacred scriptures of Hinduism and Sikhism. New York: AMS press
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Wadley, S. (1977). “Women and Hindu Tradition.” Signs, Vol. 3, No. 1; Chicago: University of Chicago Press
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