“Why is religion important to ecofeminism?” A student, in the Master’s course I teach at Charles University, asked this as we began the class session dedicated to the topic. Given the overwhelming presence of atheism in the Czech Republic, I wasn’t too surprised by the inquiry. Nonetheless, the idea has been at the back of my mind ever since: what does religion have to do with ending patriarchy and bolstering the health of the planet? While I may take the connection as obvious, it is clearly not for many feminists out there. Here is how I understand it.
First, it is true: many of our inherited religious traditions have been and still are considerably patriarchal. Because of that, some feminists outright reject religion. In fact, some feminists even consider religion dangerous and threatening, as it is often utilized to contradict many feminist aims. Yet, there are many, many feminists who find, within their given or chosen tradition, non-patriarchal elements that can be recovered, remembered and/or (re)created. Religious feminists work tirelessly to transform religions in life-sustaining and post-patriarchal ways not just for themselves but also for those women and men who belong to the same communities. Continue reading “The Importance of Religion for Eco-Feminism by Ivy Helman”