In Swain’s article, she talks about the interpretations of gender role in a religious context. (Swain, 2017) One of my favorite aspects of this article is that she uses an objective approach when writing it. By this, I mean that she does not appear to take any radical pro-feminist stances that seem to be so prevalent in modern Western cultures. As cynical as it is, I was almost expecting for this to be an article that went into great depth on the social oppression of women at the hands of men in societal and religious contexts.
Instead, she touches on how different cultures throughout the world and in different points in history take the contributions of female religious scholars seriously (or don’t). She describes that her contributions are what make her worthy of being called a “scholar” as opposed to her gender. However, indigenous populations throughout history have been known to dismiss, or even persecute, women who display extensive amounts of knowledge. She also talks about how, in a religious context, this tends to happen more frequently. Cultural norms also determine this as well. Often, cultural and religious ideals go hand-in-hand.

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In addition to her own knowledge, she credits the acquisition of it to her fellow scholars, many of whom are women. She points out that the accreditation of her fellow female scholars’ work does not determine its legitimacy, despite what others may think. While the works of female scholars are sometimes prohibited or disregarded in some religions, this attitude is considered primitive and uneducated by modern Western standards.

  • Swain, S. (2017, April 6). “Gender” in/and the Study of Religion | Bulletin for the Study of Religion. Retrieved from