This article discusses features of women’s religious leadership, social innovations, and transmission of existing gender relations patterns within diverse new religions in post-communist society in Lithuania. The article is based on participant observation in Pagan and Hindu-origin religious groups and interviews with women leaders of these groups. The narratives of women leading Pagan and Hindu religious groups in Lithuania reflected their agency, features of their leadership, and the basis for the construction of their religious authority. Research data showed that the women interviewed took leadership of their respective religious groups after gaining professional experience in their careers. Their agency was not permeated by feminist ideas, but instead the importance of men in their life choices was emphasized throughout their narratives. The three case studies indicate that female religious leadership in these new religions follows the tendency toward a return to patriarchal values in post-communist society in Lithuania, rather than moving towards an ideal of gender equality.
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Research Article| May 01 2021
Women’s Leadership in New Religions and the Question of Gender Equality in Post-Communist Lithuania
Nova Religio (2021) 24 (4): 84–103.
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Milda Ališauskienė; Women’s Leadership in New Religions and the Question of Gender Equality in Post-Communist Lithuania. Nova Religio 1 May 2021; 24 (4): 84–103. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/nr.2021.24.4.84
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