25 February | 2024

Lahore, Pakistan

Impact of contextual interpretation to replicate ‘doctrine of gender equality’

‘Religious teachings should be just for every individual irrespective of gender as it would provide a better way of inclusiveness about gender equality beyond religious boundaries’

Gender egalitarianism is a universal concept that holds relation to all aspects of the society, and goes beyond the boundaries. Where some conventional religious traditions have been criticized for perpetuating gender disparities, there is an emerging movement within theology that seeks to reinterpret sacred texts and teachings through a gender-equitable lens. Dwelling into the concepts of sexual equality, here we talk about the significance of contextual interpretation to replicate the doctrine of gender equality. Contextual interpretation of theology is a technique of studying religious texts within their historical and cultural contexts. It nods to the fact that societal norms and bigotries can be highly influential for the religious traditions that evolve over the pulse of a clock.

‘Reinterpretation within context could be a treasure tool to recognize gender egalitarianism’

The approach of contextual interpretation allows curate and scholars to rethink traditional interpretations that may have demeaned gender profiling. Historically evolved religious traditions, upheld with patriarchal norms have formed the roots of gender inequality in faith communities; although contextual interpretation stands against the patriarchal justifications by re-evaluating the texts and teachings. It dispenses a platform of free speech to diverse profiles like women, LGBTQI plus or gender minorities, and other individuals that have been debarred from theological discourse and ensure inclusive and just interpretations. It holds the capacity to induce religious reforms in compliance with contemporary values of gender equality by encouraging religious leaders to re-examine the traditions, practices, and policies and revisiting issues like leadership in religious institutions irrespective of gender. Religious teachings should be just for every individual irrespective of gender as it would provide a better way of inclusiveness about gender equality beyond religious boundaries.

In specific, many Christian denominations unhurriedly have taken up the women in leadership roles as clergy by emphasizing contextual re-evaluation. Where Islam advocates the rights and participation of women in leadership within the Islamic contexts. Hinduism also challenges the discriminatory practices that accelerates gender inequality. Halakhah – a traditional Jewish law – has been supported by many orthodox communities that favors the women’s participation in synagogue life. In addition, Bhikkhuni ordination (fully ordained nuns) has provided women equal opportunity to contribute to Buddhist teachings and practices. While reinterpretation within context could be a treasure tool for recognizing gender egalitarianism simultaneously it could be a fusion to may controversies inclusive of discourse on varying interpretations. However, this approach can shepherd to gender equality within religious customs when viewed as a commitment to justice.