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Title: In search of a feminist theology of work
Author: Borrowdale, Christine Anne
ISNI:       0000 0001 3471 1239
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 1988
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In the theology of work women are rarely mentioned, and the issues discussed arise out of male experience. Christian writing may examine women's role as wives and mothers, but not all women have this experience, and married women themselves have other roles. There is therefore a need to examine the broad spectrum of women's work theologically. A feminist perspective is important, because it arises from women's experience past and present, and makes a person's sex a significant category of analysis and construction. The search for a feminist theology of work begins by examining the concepts of justice and equality, which provide the language in which women's concerns are usually discussed in the theology of work. Treating women justly involves understanding them correctly, and thus looking at research into "sex differences" and what it implies for theology. The principle of equality is commonly cited, but is not effective in tackling the root causes of women's oppression. The alienation between the sexes must be healed before equality and justice can change social structures and erode sexual stereotypes. Work has ambiguous meanings for people; it is neither wholly good nor wholly cursed. The theology of work has operated with faulty analysis, by accepting the alleged split between home and work. It must be recognized that these spheres are closely interrelated for men as well as women, if women's work is to be evaluated appropriately. "Service" is of central theological importance to women's work. The view that Christians must serve without complaint and without seeking reward is applied specifically to women. This creates the problems associated with the "service ethic" - others are not helped to maturity, and women lose a sense of self. But it is based on a false idea of Christian love. For love does seek a response, aims to discern the needs of others, and includes love of self. These perceptions of love and service relate to our beliefs about God, and a feminist theology of work develops our understanding of God, as well as being concerned with practical Christian living. A feminist theology of work is wholistic, integrating people's working and loving in a common concern for the flourishing of God's kingdom. It is not a separate theology, but adds a new dimension. Its insights show that the theology of work cannot afford not to be feminist, if it is to be relevant for all of humankind.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Theology of work and women