RELIGION IN THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD: THE CRADLE OF WOMEN EMPOWERMENT AS IT WERE
From the abinitio, the position of women in religion had been historically dynamic as many had reported archeological discoveries of the effigies of great religious leaders as women and goddesses. But in-between histories, there was the rhetoric of the relegation of women to the pew as pertaining to religion. Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and African traditional religions have often been adjudged to be hostile to female folk with lots of literature analyzing the ceiling placed on women’s socio-economic and political lives and its attendant implications. Contemporarily, the case is different as diverse religions the world over have relaxed most strict patriarchal practices to house women albeit empower them, but amidst this ample gain, there is the dearth of scholarly works to accommodate such phoenix rise vis-à-vis religion and women thus, the essence of this work. It underscores the contemporary global religions and their modus operandi in empowering women in juxtaposition with history. With the analysis of secondary data and context, the study submits among other things that many Pentecostal churches are currently led by women, the orthodox have more priestesses and female bishops, Islam has become more gender egalitarian, allowing women with certain degree of freedom (like women driving and voting in Saudi Arabia), Hinduism is friendlier to women and female traditional cum religious leaders keep emerging unlike before. Women feel/are more religiously empowered today than in recent histories owing to the advent of advocacy democracy. With the application of neoliberal theory, the study suggests a further deregulation of religion as a panacea for total women emancipation vis-à-vis their economic and political lives.