Book review: Gaddini Katie, The Struggle to Stay: Why Single Evangelical Women Are Leaving the Church

Marta Trzebiatowska*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review


Many years ago at a conference on gender and religion at Bar-Ilan university in Tel Aviv, the keynote speaker, a lawyer from New York, threw her hands up in the air and exclaimed: ‘I give up’! Her exasperation came after many years of fighting for just treatment for Orthodox Jewish Women in divorce proceedings. When an Orthodox Jewish couple divorce, the husband must grant the wife a ‘get’, a document which validates the divorce in the eyes of the religious law. Most importantly, it allows the woman to re-marry while remaining a legitimate member of the religious community. But many men use the get as a bargaining chip, or a device for emotional blackmail. Others simply keep their ex-wives symbolically tethered to them while living with other women and having new families. After spending most of her career fighting the cause, this lawyer had run out of hope that change would ever come. I was reminded of this powerful talk while reading Katie Gaddini’s book. Hard work, hope, and resilience may not be enough to dissolve the capillaries of patriarchal power which permeate many religious traditions. The case of evangelical Christianity provides yet another example of these Sisyphean efforts by women determined to fight for gender equality and access to leadership in their community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-115
Number of pages3
JournalEuropean Journal of Women's Studies
Issue number1
Early online date21 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


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