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Christianity
and Buddhism represent two of the most prominent religions in the world today.
Various societies in the world feature multiple differences when it comes to
gender roles in society, and there have been multiple research studies that
have sought to bring out a clearer comprehension of these gender patterns.. The
religious perception of gender roles in society havs been seen to share various
similarities as well as many differences
between them. This paper provides an evaluation of the comparison between Buddhism
and Christianity when it comes to the gender patterns in society. There is a
way to analyze and explore these two forms of religions through providing
discussions on the significant beliefs as well as practices on gender and gender roles.

Leadership
in religion is an important aspect of the practices and beliefs of any
religion. There are clear outlines that are used to determine who within the
religion is supposed to be accorded with
the honor of being a leader in the
practice of the religion. The leadership aspect is
mainly formed through the scriptures that are used in these two religions. For instance, in Christianity,
there was no presence of women in the positions of leadership. The right to be
a leader on issues in the church is not something that women have been seen to partake
in with Christianity.

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Women
have been prohibited, and times
restricted in Christianity to join positions of leadership within the church
significantly due to the cultural framework that Christianity is based on.
Over the years, the rules and regulations concerning women in leadership have
been lax because of the growth in prominence of the feminist movements. In
Christianity, women have since been given a
chance to lead ministries, and
other denominations have even ordained women. However, fundamentally, the
biggest leadership roles, such as Catholic pope,
or the Cardinals, or even bishops have
remained to be positioned for men.
Christianity views on women in leadership are seen to be based on the outlook that the bible has provided about leadership. For instance, the Bible has
shown that Abraham, Moses, David as well as Elijah have been documented as leaders within Christianity (Robert Carroll, 2008). There is no position
of such prominence afforded to women in the bible. In the New Testament in the Bible, the trend is seen to continue with
people like Jesus Christ, John the Baptist, Paul, Peter as well as the rest of
the twelve disciples (Robert Carroll, 2008).

In Buddhism
however, leadership is more fluid about
gender roles. The scriptures from Buddhism show that there is prominence on women in positions of power
and leadership within the religion. Buddhism acknowledges the presence and dependence
on both masculine and female deities. The scripture speaks of goddesses in Buddhism
who are known as bodhisattvas (Ganeri, 2005).
In Buddhism, there are also females who are historical figures. These
historical figures have been acknowledged
as major lineage founders. These women are also
seen as deities in Buddhism. Since Buddhism does not have a belief in
a central God who is above all, the deities are
seen as the powerful beings in this polytheist religion.

In Buddhism,
the most prominent female deity is Tara. She is the “ultimate mother of
liberation”, and is afforded respect even more than other male form deities in
the religion. The teachings that are fronted by Tara are believed to be left so
that they can benefit the future generations. As a major deity, she has a
universal form that is acknowledged by all the Buddhists in the world.  Other female deities in Buddhism include Chintamani, Ekajati, Achi Chokyi, Kalasadhi,
Mandarava, Marichi, Lamanteri among many others (Ganeri,
2005). They represent various aspects of the Buddhist faith and
highlight the importance of the role of women.

 It is important to note that despite the
presence of female forms of deities, the role or standing of women in Buddhism
has been subject to prejudice and subjugation in various ways in the religion’s history. The role of women
has not been invariably neglected with
recognition of deities such as Prajapati. Prajapati was the step-aunt of Buddha and was the first females
in Buddhism to fight for the right of women so that they can become monastics (Ganeri, 2005). Other prominent females
afforded respect and admiration in Buddhism because of their leadership were
Ayu Khandro and Jetsun Luding.

All the
religions have recognition of marriage in the society. Various perspectives are notable about
gender roles in a marriage. Another close analysis of Christianity regarding gender is with the role of men and
women in marriage. The view of the role can be either complementarianism or egalitarianism.
Complementarianism is a view that is applied
to Christianity. The role of men and
women in Christianity has been seen to complement each other. This means that in Christianity, women are given roles that only they can do, and men are precluded from these roles but are given other duties and responsibilities.

 Christianity views the roles of men and women
in the society as ontologically equal, but functionally different. The headship
role in the family is left for men, and the woman only comes in when the man is
incapacitated or unable to perform his duties (Robert
Carroll, 2008). In essence, the woman’s role is to support the man in
all the endeavors as interpreted by the
texts from the bible. The husband has been given the responsibility by God to
protect and lead his family, while the woman should help him in ensuring that
he can manage this responsibility (Robert
Carroll, 2008).

On the
other hand, with a close evaluation of Buddhism, there are elements of an implementation
of egalitarianism. Egalitarianism is based
on the principle and doctrines of equality among all people in the world. Buddhism
is considered on of the religious champions of egalitarianism with a view of the Lotus Sutra. The Lotus Sutra
provides lessons for the individuals in the world of Buddhahood that seek to
remove any form of discrimination. If any man denies women, enlightened, he also denies himself the opportunity of
attaining Buddhahood. The Lotus Sutra in Buddhism provides the lesson that all
men and women are equal in the society from both the perspective of
enlightenment and practice.

In
conclusion, various contrasts can be drawn from the passages of both Christians
and Buddhists that shed light on the differences between the roles of men and
women. From looking at the aspect of gender roles, the Christian beliefs that
afford women with different roles for men, not
necessarily to champion for inequality, but
for the roles of the two to ensure that they complement each other. In
Buddhism, men and women are regarded as
equal in their roles in the society.

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