Despite the best intentions of a faith’s founders, many of the world’s religious traditions have not been good to women in practice.
Religious (and cultural) beliefs have been used to justify taking away women’s rights. They have been used to control and even shame women during their periods. They have been used to place limits on when women can enter sacred spaces and participate in holy rituals. And importantly, they’ve prevented women from speaking from the pulpit and leading congregations.
And yet, in many parts of the world, it’s women who form the backbone of religious congregations. Statistics from the Pew Research Center show that generally, women are more religious than men ― more likely to affiliate with a religious faith and to pray daily.
This disparity between’s women’s high levels religious commitment and their lack of representation in top leadership positions is striking. But that doesn’t mean women haven’t been putting cracks in the stained glass ceiling.
In honor of Women’s History Month, The Huffington Post assembled this list of women who are currently hard at work dismantling the patriarchy.
Whether it’s through seeking ordination, challenging traditional gender norms, offering feminist interpretations of theology, or simply making space for women in sacred plac and conversations, these female leaders are showing the world what women of faith are capable of achieving.