Wednesday, May 30

Gender equality ends at the pew

Which door a woman uses to enter her mosque – the side door or the wide one at the front – may seem a minor thing.

But to Alia Hogben it's a major symbol of the overarching way women are dismissed in churches, mosques, synagogues and other places of prayer.

Across the spectrum of faiths in Canada, women are treated differently than men. Catholic women cannot be ordained as deacons or priests. Only priests can say mass. In some movements in Judaism, women cannot be counted among the 10 required for a prayer group. Seating for women in mosques – often inferior spaces in basements or crowded side rooms – is a continuing controversy in Islam as are inheritance rights and the troubling issue of polygamy.

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