In both events, the women's agency is restricted by social and religious norms.
In this text we have analyzed two different events and their relation to religion and society. The first event is the reactions that occurred when the Egyptian female volleyball team played a match against Germany in the Rio Olympics 2016. The International Volleyball Federation lifted the ban on hijab, making it possible for the Egyptian women to play in in clothes that covered their bodies.
The other event that we have examined was the anti-abortion bill that was introduced in Poland. Polish pro-life activists proposed a law to the Polish government banning all forms of abortions, including pregnancies as a cause of incest or rape and in cases of fetal defect. There was an immense reaction amongst the people in Poland, and hundreds of activists from both sides of the abortion debate picketed outside of the Parliament and had major protests.
To critically examine the events we have used three theories. Firstly, the secularization theory were Kurtz (2016) argues that we are living in an age were people are less involved in organized religion, in which religious institutions lose their responsibility and authority in the society. Secondly, The sacred canopy theory in which Peter Berger (1966) claimed that each society creates a nomos. nomos are patterns that a society wants people to see as objectively right and that individuals internalize. The nomos is in other words an external thing that we have objectified and internalized (Bartel, Sept. 8. 2016). And thirdly, we use feminist theory to understand how gender and gender roles are social constructs that affect women’s lives.
The theories have helped us further understand how the social, cultural and religious norms and values have affected people’s attitudes toward the two events. Our hypothesis was:
“In both cases the women’s agency is restricted by social and religious norms.”
Through using the different theories, it is clear that our hypothesis applies. The feminist theory, stress the importance of women’s reproductive rights as well as women being in control of their own bodies. Both the international Volleyball Federation and the Catholic Church are led by men that regulate the freedom of women, which is problematic. The sacred canopy theory showed evidence of how the nomos is significant. In the volleyball event, the women are challenging the nomos by threatening the norms of clothing and religion. The women in Poland are challenging the nomos by demanding more liberal abortion rights. Lastly, the secularization theory applies differently in the two cases. The Western secular forces are trying to prevent the Muslim women’s choice of clothing, as a reaction to their open display of religious beliefs. The secularization theory is therefore evident in this scenario. However, in Poland it is the opposite. Religious view are not urged to be private, but prominent in the social and political arena.
Written by Sandra