Religion and gender inequality a case study of the Baptist Union of South Africa (BUSA) with particular reference to the eThekwini Municipality.
Benn, Rebecca Joy.
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Historically, Baptist churches have marginalised women. Baptist churches within South Africa are still primarily male-dominated religious organisations. This study looks into the belief held by many that it is unbiblical for women to lead men spiritually and how this has been used continually to exclude women from leadership positions. The study highlights how the exclusion of women from formalised leadership positions leads to women's contribution in the church-going unnoticed and undocumented, meaning that South African Baptist Churches' historical narrative is incomplete. This study focuses on the Baptist Union of South Africa (BUSA), with particular reference to churches within the eThekwini municipality in post-apartheid South Africa. It examines five branch churches which are or at some point were member churches of BUSA. It is essential to note that these branches are not the only BUSA-affiliated churches within eThekwini but were selected because of access to archival material, due to their cultural and theological viewpoints, and owing to each church being among the most influential Baptist churches in eThekwini. This study examines gender attitudes and roles within the five churches within BUSA. In particular, the lived experiences of women within these member churches. It also analyses how religious, theological and cultural ideas shaped and defined gender roles within BUSA. A study of BUSA will provide insights into gender attitudes and roles within churches at different historical periods in KZN history.