Patriarchal norms, practices and changing gendered power relations - narratives of Ultra-Orthodox women in Israel

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12 Scopus citations


The Ultra-Orthodox community in Israel is undergoing massive changes, and these changes are clearly impacting the status of women, the different types of goals women set for themselves, and the myriad of ways in which they act towards achieving them. In this article, we examine these changes, focusing on how these women formulate and reformulate articulations of domestic femininity in ways that do not challenge the ‘Orthodox Ideal’ in the fundamental sense. We argue that the focus on these reformulations adds an additional and understudied arena–that of the household–in which to examine innovative representations of agency of women belonging to conservative religious groups. Our position thus contributes to a wider understanding of how religious women express agency while adhering to an overall religious patriarchal structure. Based on a series of group interviews with Ultra-Orthodox women, this article investigates the ways in which these women narrated their experiences within the changing gendered structures and spaces of Ultra-Orthodox society. By focusing on an analysis of women’s agency in the context of changing patriarchal practices, this article contributes towards an understanding of the role of women in promoting change within religiously conservative communities. The analysis highlights the ways in which women traverse and constitute boundaries between the domestic and the public, and how they narrate gender relations within their community and their own households.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)975-998
Number of pages24
JournalGender, Place, and Culture
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Agency
  • narrative analysis
  • patriarchal bargain
  • religion
  • religious women
  • voice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Demography
  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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