Ultra-Orthodox Jewish women are bucking the patriarchal, authoritarian stereotype of their community

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish women are bucking the patriarchal, authoritarian stereotype of their community

Ultra-Orthodox Jews have been in the news a lot lately, partly due to their reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With a few exceptions, the stories present ultra-Orthodox Jews as a patriarchal community that is authoritarian and resistant to public health measures, even during a global pandemic.

While this narrative has dominated coverage of this community for decades, it comes from a focus on ultra-Orthodox men. Male community leaders are quoted in the media, and men are more visible among the crowds that are resisting and protesting lockdown measures. This reinforces both outside views of women in the community as subservient and internal attempts to silence and exclude women.

But given the gender segregation in ultra-Orthodox communities, a complete picture of this society simply cannot be gleaned from men alone.

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