The Role Of Women In Western Europe And Japan

1157 words - 5 pages

Women in Western Europe and Japan had similar and different roles religiously, politically, and economically. Religiously, women in Western Europe and Japan had some religious roles and had female religious leaders. Women in Western Europe were better off religiously, partly due to the ability to become a nun and take part in religious services, while women in Japan could not. Over time, women in Japan lost most of their religious rights, and ability to partake in ceremonies. In both areas, the women had few political roles and could not be in the bureaucracy. Japanese women's political rights slowly declined while Western European women's rights increased over time. Women in Europe had it better off politically with having the right to rule or be a regent while Japanese women could not. Economically, Japanese and European women had a reasonable amount of rights for the time. Women in Japan eventually could not inherit land but were able to be in the merchant class, while women in Europe could also inherit land in some places, they were better off and more economically engaged with the running and working of a craft guild compared to the few economic roles for Japanese women.
Religiously, women in Western Europe were better off compared to women in Japan. In Japan, the popular religion was Shinto with Buddhism is some places as well. In Western Europe, the popular religion was Christianity. Similarly, both regions had venerated female religious figures. 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 woman being involved religiously. Additionally, both women in Japan and Western Europe could not lead religious services. At one point, women from both regions could participate in services but they were lead by men. Japanese women did not have as many Shinto or Buddhist roles as the Western European women had. On the other hand, women in Western Europe and Japan were different, with the women in Western Europe being better off. Over time, the women of Japan lost the right to participate in religious ceremonies, and were not given the chance of becoming a nun, unlike in Europe. Especially when Ashikaga Shogunate came into power, Japanese women lost a lot of religious say. 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, writing and copying religious manuscripts, spinning, and embroidering. Overall, they became more involved with the church. In Japan, women could not become nuns or religious leaders like in Europe; instead, they eventually lost their roles in Buddhist and...

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