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Accepted Paper:

Seeking equality: relational and power-based conceptualizations of gender (in)equality among Latvian women of faith  
Aivita Putnina (University of Latvia)

Paper short abstract:

The paper explores understanding of equality in Christian denominations among women of faith. Church becomes a dynamic place for intersection of different equality regimes: political struggles for gender equality, anti-gender movement and faith-based notions of equality.

Paper long abstract:

The paper explores the recent case of reversal of women's ordination in Latvian Lutheran Evangelical Church. The Christian denominations have become vocal political force against gender equality policies, showing the church as a dynamic place for intersection of these different equality regimes. To understand the intersection, perception and practice of equality among women in Latvian Christian religious communities has been researched showing different basis for defining equality and seeking it. In community of faith around the globe so called anti-gender movements are well documented, while alternative understandings of equality are less researched. Latvian data shows that women in Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran tradition see equality relationally - as the result of their personal relationship with God and their community, largely rejecting political solutions in achieving equality. The vision of equality among religious women includes a power dimension regardless gender equality or anti-gender framing. Leadership roles in the church thus are seen related to values of sharing, solidarity, service, humility and care rather than based on the hierarchical value of the position. The paper focuses on the women’ s voice in balancing traditionalist, Christian and political understandings of gender equality and implementing a relational agency and position in everyday lives and service to church, allowing to expand J. Butler’ s (2021) inquiry into utopia of equality and force of non-violence there.

Panel P173a
Transforming the future: Gender/sexual citizenship and the horizons of hope [Network for the Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality]
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -