Religion and the Feminist Movement Conference (2002)

The Women's Studies and Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School was pleased to host a conference focused on the interconnections between religion and second wave feminism. It was a first effort to elicit and document the collective narratives of the religious women who have advanced a movement that continues to transform modern America. Activists for whom religion is the primary arena of feminist transformations came together with those whose religious roots have inspired commitments to women's liberation in other venues. These participants, in turn, were joined by historians, scholars and theological students who contribute to interpreting their legacy.

Speakers reflected upon the ways in which faith and feminism came to intersect in their lives. These stories included both realizations about religion as a source of oppression and the recognition of congruence between the liberating core of their traditions and the goal of liberation for women. Speakers explored challenges faced both among political allies who often accused them of false consciousness, and those within faith traditions that often stifled their leadership. Protestant, Catholic, Evangelical, Mormon, Jewish, Muslim and Wiccan feminists contributed to the effort to recover the history of religion in American feminism.

A companion book of essays by the conference speakers, Transforming the Faiths of Our Fathers: Women Who Changed American Religion, edited by Ann Braude, was published in June 2004. See the publisher's website for additional information.

Generous funding for this conference was provided by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.