Exploring the 'Feminization of Christianity': Secularization, Gender and Power Shifts in 19th Century Religious Dynamics


  • Claudia MATEI (VARGA) PhD(c), “Aurel Vlaicu” University of Arad, Romania


The concept of gender has grown from a marginal concern to a pivotal element in historical research on Christianity, particularly through the lens of the 'feminization of Christianity' narrative. This term describes the nineteenth-century shift in religious life where women emerged as pivotal figures, amid a broader context where secularization was also taking place. The applicability of 'feminization' to Catholicism in Belgium is examined, considering Belgium's unique position between France's acceptance and Germany's resistance to the theory. While the paper explores variations, elements, and causes of 'feminization' from other studies, it does not conclude definitively due to the novelty of this thesis in Belgium, suggesting further research to address this gap. KEYWORDS: the feminization of Christianity, secularization, gender and religion, Belgian Catholicism, historical research