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Faith in the public realmControversies, policies and practices$
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Adam Dinham, Robert Furbey, and Vivien Lowndes

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781847420305

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847420305.001.0001

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Religion, political participation and civic engagement: women’s experiences

Religion, political participation and civic engagement: women’s experiences

Chapter:
(p.123) Seven Religion, political participation and civic engagement: women’s experiences
Source:
Faith in the public realm
Author(s):

Brenda O’Neill

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781847420305.003.0007

The significance of religion in shaping political and civic behaviour has received significant attention over the years. However, in this area of research, the women have received less attention. This is because of the religion's longstanding negative impact on women's equality and the traditional roles that it can assign to them in public and private sectors. To understand comprehensively the link between religion, political participation and civic engagement, it is necessary to explore the women's experiences in faith communities. This chapter hence examines the connection between spirituality and religion and women's political and civic engagement. It distinguishes ‘spirituality’ and ‘religiosity’ and explores how religion moulds the women's political and civic engagement. It focuses on how women respond to religious influences and how these shape the women's decisions concerning active citizenship. Importantly, the chapter focuses on a comparison of the civic and political engagement of women who identify with an organised religion and those who prefer to label their religious beliefs and practices as ‘spirituality’.

Keywords:   religion, women, political participation, civic engagement, spirituality, religiosity, religious influences

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