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Building Bridges: Sarah-Jane Page

jeu, septembre 05, 2013

Time: 12pm-2pm
Location: University of Ottawa, Arts Hall, Room 509

Title: "'Gender Equality' as Empty Signifier? Understanding Perceptions of the Gendered Division of Labour from Religious Young Adults Living in the UK"

Gender Equality has become a key value upon which liberal democratic governments measure themselves. Religious citizens are often positioned as a challenge to this, with the assumption that religions are overwhelmingly gender-conservative, endorsing traditional codes of behaviour. As it is young people who most embody the rhetoric of freedom and opportunity, young religious women in particular come to symbolise the assumed inequality of conservative religious regimes (Scharff 2011, 2012). Drawing on data from the study, Religion, Youth and Sexuality: A Multi-faith Exploration, a project which mapped the perceptions and experiences of young religious adults aged between 18 and 25 and living in the UK, this presentation will consider what gender equality meant to the participants, and how they oriented themselves to a traditional understanding of the gendered division of labour. Indeed, gender equality was a concept ubiquitously endorsed by our participants, but the majority were yet to embark on relationships and domestic settings where the gendered division of labour was negotiated in reality. Thus, the young adults’ orientations to gender often revealed a contradiction between their current understandings and their envisioned future lives.

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