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Gender disparities have dominated in many religious practices and one can obviously notice that men and

women often play different roles in religious rituals of the major religions. Very often the gender roles played by men and women in religion are socially constructed. As Alsop &Lennon point out, the dichotomy in the gender roles occur as the primitive societies have viewed men as rational and capable of universally valid thought whereas women have always been thought as emotional, feeble and submissive. For them, sex differences, the division into male and female bodies, were seen as biological differences.Gender differences, however, behavioural and psychological traits associated with masculinity and femininity, were viewed as socially constructed (Alsop &Lennon p. 26). The gender traits of Hindu women can be traced back to their early Brahmanical religion and Vedic inheritance. As Young suggests, the role of women and their rituals during this period was limited to maintaining social and cosmic order. RgVeda propagates the images of the maiden and the bride and praises women for their youthful beauty, radiance, appealing adornment, sweet odours, ample hips, and broad thighs which are evidently associated with feminine sensuality and the childbearing capacity of the girl (Young 61). In Kirklands opinion these female Perfected Ones represented a proof to those men, and to potential women aspirants, that women can achieve the highest goals not only in theory, but also in actuality-a fact that allows them to extend their blessings to mortals, of either sex, who would like to follow in their footsteps (Kirkland 137). Thus, Taoism spread a significant message that the goal of religious life can be achieved by dedicated aspirants of either gender. Similarly, women leaders such as Huang and her disciples were great turning g points in the lives of Taoist women. One

could also notice a large number of female priests throughout late Six Dynasties, Tang, and early Sung periods who were ordained about puberty and they led effective spiritual life through self-cultivation and other religious activities, which were typically not gender-specific (Kirkland 141).