• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Gender, in religion, refers to sex-associated characteristics and behaviors in both the natural and the supernatural world: the earth and its creatures, objects, spirits, and the gods. Gender and religion are dynamically interrelated, with religions shaping gender, and gender influencing religion. In recent times, gender has been at the heart of major controversies in religion and has led to new ways of studying and explaining religion.

Religion Shaping Gender

Religion has played an important role in defining the meaning of gender both as a symbol and in practice. In ancient times, religions assigned gender to various aspects of the natural world—the earth, rivers, mountains, sun, moon, and stars—which in turn were associated with spiritual power. In an ancient Aztec myth, Coatlicue, an earth goddess, gives birth ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles