Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, Vol 21, No 2 (2008)

“Haris” in Saris: The Status of Women in the Hare Krishna Movement in Australia

Brian Salter
Issued Date: 4 Mar 2009

Abstract


Religions sometimes “confer” equality on women but set limits on female encroachment into the male domain. Legislation supporting equality between the sexes was enacted in the Hare Krishna movement in March 2000 following a study in 1996 that identified internal discrimination against female members. Research was conducted to assess the impact of the legislation in Australia and review the notion of gender equality in the movement. Forty-three female and fifty-eight male (N = 101) initiates were surveyed at Sydney and Melbourne temples and several interviews were held. It was found that increased moral support for women to perform status roles was not matched by greater inclusion. The presence of ambivalent sexism and conflicting cultural influences were indicated. Increases in training and education opportunities were suggested to move Hare Krishna women toward genuine equality with their male peers.

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DOI: 10.1558/arsr.v21i2.217

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