Membership, Community, Diversity

What gender-related issues are important for Shinto practitioners?

Shinto priests (and priestesses) have almost always been married people with families. Ongoing social taboo still prohibits menstruating women from participating as official ministers in ritual activities. Contemporary custom, however, has in all likelihood loosened such restrictions. It is safe to say that in general women have historically had greater direct participation in many Shinto shrine rituals than they do presently. Only unmarried young women are eligible for the office of miko in shrines, and typically have access to the positions hereditarily, as a result of their families’ priestly traditions.


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