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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

On-line version ISSN 2412-4265

Abstract

LANDMAN, Christina. Safe spaces for women in the church: The case of Dullstroom-Emnotweni. Studia Hist. Ecc. [online]. 2013, vol.39, suppl.1, pp. 171-185. ISSN 2412-4265.

For the 100 co-researchers in Dullstroom-Emnotweni who participate in a project called "Women's space in the church", the relationship between men and women of faith is one of political correctness. However, at home the man is the head of the household, and a good woman is seen as one that cares for her family and respects her husband, while he is the provider. The women identify with Mary in her role as the mother of Jesus while not feeling attracted to the powerful or "political" women of the Bible. Although there is a strong "human rights' generation" present in the church that looks after the rights of women in terms of abuse, in practice the women do not seem to be safe in terms of their right to insist on safe sex, and the churches do not offer structural assistance in cases of rape or physical abuse. The women do not seem to have leadership aspirations in the church, or do not have the freedom to express these aspirations, although the men seem to be scared that such aspirations may exist. In spite of these fears and all the fighting and gossiping that seem to be rife in some of the congregations, both men and women emphasise that they feel safe in the church. This article describes the research results of this project and briefly considers the premises of nego-feminism which negotiates space between men and women based on the intersectionality of their indigenous abilities as a way forward for creating space for women in the church.

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