Intersections of gender and minority status: perspectives from Finnish Jewish women

  • Elina Vuola University of Helsinki

Abstract

In this article, I examine how contemporary Finnish Jewish women understand their roles and identities as women in a small Orthodox Jewish community, on the one hand, and as members of a tiny minority in largely secular and predominantly Lutheran/Christian Finland, on the other. How do Finnish Jewish women negotiate their identities in relation to their community, strongly organised along gender lines, and in relation to Finnish society and especially its equality ideals and norms? I divide my article into four sections. First, I give a short overview of the theory of intersectionality, concentrating on its possibilities and limitations for the study of religion and gender in general, and for the study of Judaism, specifically. Second, I focus on my informants’ views of the gendered practices of their Orthodox Jewish community, which, by many standards, is a very specific form of Orthodoxy, which could be called ‘Finnish Orthodoxy’. Third, I analyse my informants’ views on how they perceive being Jewish women in contemporary Finland. The intersection of the last two broad themes will highlight the realities of Finnish Jewish women in contemporary Finland. Fourth, I discuss possibilities and limitations of intersectional theorising in the light of my data.

Keywords: Finland, Gender, Intersectionality
How to Cite
Vuola, E. (2019). Intersections of gender and minority status: perspectives from Finnish Jewish women. Nordisk Judaistik/Scandinavian Jewish Studies, 30(1), 55-74. https://doi.org/10.30752/nj.77270