This is an important topic because women often have a less powerful role in institutionalized religions and often a more powerful role in pagan and earth-related religions. It is good to explore some of these issues in order for women to understand their own spirituality in the various environments/contexts that they find themselves and to encourage open debate.
1. Make up your own religion
What are your core beliefs? Symbols? Place of worship?;
2. What are your images of God?
Split group into two and ask each to do a spider diagram about how people in the group see God? What images come to mind? What feelings?
Read out a story that features God or Gods that are women.
Now do a focused/ ORID conversation (an ICA:UK method TM):
Observation: What was the story about? What images came to mind? What words stand out from the story?
Reflection: How did the story make people feel?
Interpretation: What kind of thoughts did people have about the story? Why do you think you felt the way you did?
Decision: Does anything need to be done to alter this?
3. Presentations of women in religion
Put a massive piece of paper on the floor with positive at one end and negative at the other and have loads of images of women in religion, the young women will place the images on the continuum and have a discussion afterwards.
4. Religious symbols ‘conversation café’:
A conversation café involves putting discussion topics on different tables around the room and asking people to move around the different tables talking about each topic. It’s a nice idea to have food and drinks available too!
-’To no a-veil’ Why do women wear the veil? (Why do people object? Is this right?)
-The crucifix: fashion statement? (Why do people wear the cross? Is it disrespectful to wear it as a fashion symbol?)
-Christianity, a white heterosexual man’s religion? (How are prophets’ etc. represented? Is this true to life? Why can women not become bishops?)
-What is fundamentalism? What is liberal faith?
-Is there one God? (Or many? Is there one God that different religions view in a different way?)
-Does religion unite or exclude? (Does it unite the excluded?)
-What is paganism? How is it presented in society? Does this demonise women? Does it make them sacred?