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9:30 AM – 12:30 PM CEST 

Rome, Italy

The stained glass-ceiling in religious organization is proving hard to crack. A Pew Research Center’s study on Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, and the religiously unaffiliated shows that globally, women are more devout than men by several standard measures of religious commitment. Yet, they are still underrepresented in leadership roles.

History’s most influential religious leaders – among them Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha) – tend to be predominantly, if not exclusively, male and many religious groups, including Roman Catholics and Orthodox Jews, allow only men to be clergy. Yet, there are important signs of change.

Religious systems of meaning and belief have so powerfully shaped cultural patterns defining the social status and roles of women. Anyone hoping to understand women’s lives needs to attend to the extent to which religion has not only reflected basic cultural assumptions about gender but has in turn helped shape, reinforce, and alter those assumptions. As feminist theologians have pointed out from the start, the study of women’s religious experience gives us access to women’s interpretations of reality. Finally, and religious institutions historically have been a major sphere of women’s activities, second perhaps only to the domestic sphere itself.

The conference is organized by the State of Women European Research Network and will feature both scholars and practitioners bringing their contribution to the discussion.

Carlo Corazza, Director, European Parliament in Rome

Brigid Curtin Frein, Associate Professor of Theology/Religious Studies, The University of Scranton

Chiara Lucifero, communication expert and Founding Director, Santa Croce Institute

Federiga Bindi, Jean Monnet Chair, University of Rome Tor Vergata & Director, Foreign Policy Initiative, IWPR

Gretchen Van Dyke, Associate Professor of Political Science, The University of Scranton

Livia Ottolengi, University of Rome Sapienza and Counselor, UCEI livia.ottolenghi@gmail.com

Malina Voicu, Professor, Romanian Academy of Science

Maria Angelillo Del Carmelo, Professor of Southern and Western Asian Cultures, University of Milan

Rabba Mira Raz, Progressive Movement of Judaism, Tel Aviv

Silvia Costa, former member of the European Parliament

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