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Gender equality and religious freedom in politics

(129 Posts)
Bags Sat 01-Sep-12 07:31:23

A religious sect in The Netherlands is not allowed to prevent women from standing for election. Good ruling. Glad to see the ECHR can and does make sensible decisions sometimes.

Greatnan Sat 01-Sep-12 07:51:16

If only it had some power in other countries! I suppose there will be the usual outcry about religious freedom but the women's rights have prevailed. (Of course, it would be better if the women left the sect.)

MiceElf Sat 01-Sep-12 08:23:43

Excellent, well reasoned decision

absentgrana Sat 01-Sep-12 08:34:23

I can't help wondering why any woman would have anything to do with them in the first place and why would such a woman want to stand for election. But the principle is right.

Bags Sat 01-Sep-12 08:39:01

Presumably the issue came up because a woman (brought up in that sect perhaps) wanted to stand for election. It's a start.

absentgrana Sat 01-Sep-12 08:47:13

There is nothing quite so stubborn as a Dutchman once he has dug in his heels.

MiceElf Sat 01-Sep-12 08:53:52

One person's freedoms always have to be balanced against another's rights. Your right to smoke against my right to breath clean air. In this case the sect concerned are presumably in the same place that English law was until women got full voting rights in 1928. It takes some groups a long time to develop and happily there is a judicial system to decide when two systems of belief or behaviour collide.

vampirequeen Sat 01-Sep-12 09:06:07

Womem's rights should always come before the rules of a religious sect.

Greatnan Sat 01-Sep-12 11:06:11

Women still form the majority of attenders at both Anglican and catholic churches, in spite of the reluctance to allow them full status. I suppose leaving a religion might be like leaving your partner - it takes some courage to go it alone.

MiceElf Sat 01-Sep-12 11:36:42

Regular worshippers at church are there because because they believe it is right. Not because they lack courage to go it alone.

Whilst it is true that there is still not gender equality in many churches, they, like many other institutions have some way to go. Look, for example, at the number of women MPs or women in boardrooms. One could throw one's toys out of the pram and announce that it isn't fair, or one can stay within an institution, organisation, church or political party and work for change from within.

AlisonMA Sat 01-Sep-12 11:55:31

Well said MiceElf

I think the Dutch are a pragmatic lot and don't get so het up as we do about so many things. If 2 of my DSs didn't live in the UK I would probably move there as we have such a good time with DS2, Dil2 and all her family and friends everytime we go.

Bags Sat 01-Sep-12 11:56:12

I was only a regular attender (attender, not worshipper) at church when I was under my parents' authority. I can imagine that a lot of the younger women who attend church do so because they feel they have to, as I did. I wouldn't be surprised to find that the woman in the Dutch ECHR case was in that kind of 'boat'.

absentgrana Sat 01-Sep-12 12:02:04

Some religious sects are very controlling and it can be very difficult for someone to leave them when they have been governed by that sect from birth. It is doubly difficult if it would mean cutting off oneself from the rest of one's family. I don't know whether the SGP falls into this category but it seems as if that might be a possibility.

MiceElf Sat 01-Sep-12 12:11:26

It's perfectly possible that some young women (although very few in these days, I imagine) attend church under the compulsion of their parents.

As people get older they make choices. Some leave, some stay and some leave and return later with a fuller and more mature understanding of what being a Christian means.

I do hope that no one is suggesting that most young women church goers are there for no reason other than compulsion. Many are thoughtful, enquiring and committed to seeking the truth.

I could not comment on the Dutch case, but it seems to be a very small sect indeed. One with which I have no sympathy, but, happily, the lawyers have arrived at what I feel to be the correct decision.

Greatnan Sat 01-Sep-12 12:29:49

Big sigh. I had no intention whatsoever of being controversial- I just know that the biggest number of regular church attenders tend to be elderly women. I wasn't 'suggesting' any darned thing!
I am quite sure many people stay with a church because they like it, it fulfils their needs, etc. etc.
Does that make everybody happy?

MiceElf Sat 01-Sep-12 12:49:58

Woops! It was actually Bags' post I was responding to. Mea culpa. I'm not sure where the stats are from, but it's certainly not the case in my local church although there are slightly more women than men. Of course because women tend to outlive men there will be more women than men in the older age group. As an 'elderly' woman myself I would tend to think that shows our greater intelligence commitment and so on. But that's just me with my long spoon.

Greatnan Sat 01-Sep-12 12:59:48

O.K. You can see why I don't want to engage in anything argumentative, I am sure! (Well, not unless it is absolutely necessary. grin)
If you google 'Church attendance by age and gender grouping' you will find some fascinating facts and some possible reasons. Women attenders apparently outnumber men in every age range, not just the elderly, which is easily understandable by the difference in life expectancy.

AlisonMA Sat 01-Sep-12 13:57:37

HTC Claygate, Surrey has a congregation which covers all age groups and ethnicities, probably pretty much the same as the population as a whole, well maybe a few less brown people.

Greatnan Sat 01-Sep-12 14:54:20

I don't think one particular church can be taken as representing the whole range of churches.

Bags Sat 01-Sep-12 17:44:20

An elderly female friend of mine says: "Churchgoing is for old women of all ages and both genders".
Always made me chuckle smile. Yes, I know I'm being irreverent, or whatever. It's still funny from where I am flowers

NfkDumpling Sat 01-Sep-12 17:50:39

True Bags, very true!

absentgrana Sat 01-Sep-12 18:07:37

I love the way the Dutch function – so opened-minded and free and easy until they feel cross and then so immovably stubborn in their resistance.

JO4 Sat 01-Sep-12 22:51:17

I wish I had an unsophisticated sense of humour.

MiceElf Sat 01-Sep-12 23:19:27

It's not irreverent, but it's profoundly sexist.

Bags Sun 02-Sep-12 07:27:21

I hadn't thought of that. Thanks for flagging it up. Ponders...... Sexist, yes, I can see how one could think that. Profoundly, no. Definitely not profoundly smile