Here is the English abstract of Somayyeh Arab Khorasani (Assistant Professor, Faculty of Woman and Family, University of Religions and Denominations, Iran)'s presentation at the 8nd pre-con meeting of the conference “Imam Reza (PBUH) and Interreligious Dialogue" which was held in Woman and Family Research Institute Qom, Iran on December 4, 2023.
The Role of Gender and Religious Teachings in Forming Strategies for Preserving Family
The family has profoundly significant functions: procreation, socialization, and transmission of values. Among the most crucial values of any society and community are religion and gender. Gender is a human construct, parts of which have been reinforced, corrected, or eliminated in the process of the history of religions. The most evident representation of gender and religion is observable and traceable in the family institution. The expansion of this human construct for the dominance of the male over the female, coupled with the dissemination of religious doctrines supporting it, has led to the one-sided growth of this construct in the form of androcentrism. disregarding the feminine voice and the female gender, both in the interpretation of religious doctrines and within the family institution, has caused the continuation of a one-sided and androcentric family structure. Insistence on maintaining this one-sided family structure (with men as the head of the family), the utilization of religious doctrines in support of this structure (unilateral recommendations emphasizing the importance of the husband and his dominance over the wife), and the recommendation for women to align and synchronize with this approach have some an anti-family functions steering couples toward divorce and discouraging single individuals from entering this institution. The continuation of the one-sided and masculine interpretation of religious doctrines raises serious doubts about sustaining the family. What is not intended is a paradigm shift from an androcentric approach to a women-centric one, and what is necessary to occur is a third approach centered on the preservation of the family institution and its refinement from damaging doctrines to women, men, and children.
Translator: Mahdi Qasemi