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Feminist spirituality 

Feminist spirituality
Chapter:
Feminist spirituality
Author(s):

Susan A. Ross

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199571390.003.0005
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date: 23 October 2017

This chapter will focus on feminist spirituality and its significance in a healthcare context. That is to say, women’s lived experiences and reflections on their spiritual lives will affect the ways that they take care of themselves and others. Feminist spirituality holds that women’s neglected experiences and ideas need to be brought to the center not only of women’s religious lives but also to their personal and social lives. Healthcare is no exception. This chapter focuses primarily on the feminist dimensions of the Jewish and Christian traditions; there is a growing literature on feminist spirituality in Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, as well as newer religious movements, but space precludes my doing justice to all the world religions. I will venture to say, however, that much of what characterizes feminist spirituality in Judaism and Christianity is in some way applicable to other religious traditions. The chapter provides a description of the major themes of feminist spirituality, particularly as they challenge, reject, or reform traditional religious ideas, and with an eye to those themes that have particular relevance to healthcare, the chapter gives examples of the ways that these themes have been developed in spiritual and religious feminist thinkers. The author then relates these ideas to healthcare, with particular attention to how healthcare and healthcare providers can be more attentive to feminist spiritual concerns.

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