Document Type


Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License


Buddhist Studies | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


Gender bias in the history of ideas is notorious. In religious terms, it can also be called heretical, blasphemous, and evil. The challenge to represent women’s lives, voices, and accomplishments in the broad and deep reaches of religion is even more difficult than in other fields. While history has its male actors and music its male composers, religions have their male gods who reign supreme even over male practitioners. These gods eclipse and erase goddesses, women scholars and ministers, and women’s ways of shaping spiritual consciousness. Women face formidable obstacles in religion, but women’s struggles are their success.

It is no wonder Wikipedia is so thin on entries about women in religion. With the publication of this volume edited by Colleen Hartung, and subsequent volumes that will add scores more such articles, that problem will be solved. I predict that, in time, the actual numbers of women religious agents, if documented fairly, will far surpass those of men. After all, religion has long been seen as part of the soft, spiritual, domestic world associated with women, versus the tough, intellectual, global dimensions that are identified as male. But this will happen only if methodological changes are made in the whole approach to notability—if power dynamics are analyzed and transformed and entries admitted accordingly.


Table of Contents

Foreward | i

Leveraging Notability | v

Mae Eleanor Frey | 1

Janet McKenzie |17

Miranda E. Shaw | 41

Beatriz Melano | 61

Bertha Mae Lillenas | 79

Yvonne V. Delk | 97

Ida Weis Friend | 123

Shundō Aoyama Rōshi | 141

Margaret Peoples Shirer | 163

Ellen Margaret Leonard, CSJ | 179

Contributors | 209


Original Publication Information:

Hartung, C. (Ed.). (2020). Claiming Notability for Women Activists in Religion. Alta.