The Role Of Women Essay

981 words - 4 pages

Women in Western Europe and Japan compare and contrast religiously, politically, and economically. Religiously, women in Western Europe were better off with the advantage of becoming a nun than women in Japan were who lost their role in Buddhist and Shintu rituals. Politically, feminist thinkers were allowing women to have a greater say politically but there were fewer female rulers or regents in Europe. Japan who had female empresses prior to Koken was less inclined to have success. Economically, women in Japan could not inherit land but were able to be in the merchant class, while women in Europe could also inherit land; they were better off and more economically engaged than Japan with the running and working of a craft guild.
Religiously, women in Western Europe were better off compared to women in Japan. Similarly, both regions had religious leaders citizens could learn from. In Europe, the veneration of Mary showed a desire to stress the merciful side of Christianity. This merciful side was opposite of the sternness of God the Father and provided new hopes for assistance in gaining salvation. People thus believed the Christian religion provided equality for all souls, male and female. Additionally, Saint Clare of Assisi gave people the idea of purity and dedication to the church, which allowed women to become more involved. In Japan, the Shinto religion drew out the image of a Sun Goddess, Ama Terasu, said to be the creator of the Japanese Islands. This idea of a Sun Goddess gave off the belief of a women being involved religiously. On the other hand, women in Western Europe and Japan are different, with the women in Western Europe being better off. A woman in Western Europe had the opportunity and was encouraged to become a nun. However, becoming a nun was something more for the wealthier women. Becoming a nun gave women more privileges than they did previously. This included devoting more of their life to serving God, become educated on working with religious manuscripts, spinning and embroidering. Overall, they became more involved with the church. Whereas in Japan, women could not become nuns or religious leaders; instead they lost their roles in Buddhist and Shinto rituals. Women could still believe and enforce Buddhism and Shinto but were no longer allowed to teach the beliefs like nuns could.
Politically, women in Japan were less inclined to succeed compared to those in Western Europe. There were a couple women able to take the role of empress regent, Empress Koken being the last. In the late 700's, Koken was the last female emperor and was able to move the capital city but only to realize it still resembled Chinese cities. Women never could rule Japan after the incident with Empress Koken, where one monk tried to achieve much political power by marrying into the royal family. Women trying to rule the throne were given the stereotypical image of a dangerous woman previously recorded in Buddhist texts because of...

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