A Serendipitous Religious (Non)Career: Female Hindu Priests Navigate a Non-traditional Occupation

By Suchitra Shenoy-Packer.

Published by The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Even though Hindu Indian culture has systematically marginalized women from the priestly profession, several women now study religious scriptures and some eventually become priests. Scholars are yet to explore this non-traditional career choice for women and currently, there is no scholarship exploring the narratives and experiences of female Hindu priests. In a first study of its kind, this research paper interviewed 12 female priests from Pune, India, and found serendipitous chance events to have drawn women to this profession. Enacting professional selves vis-à-vis male priests, by experiencing a female gaze, and by doing meaningful work as a calling, these women make sense of their occupational outsider within lives as priests.

Keywords: Hindu Priests, Women, Career, India, Serendipitous Careers, Calling, Meaningful Work

The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.125-136. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 242.802KB).

Dr. Suchitra Shenoy-Packer

Assistant Professor, College of Communication, DePaul University, Chicago, IL, USA

My research focuses on the career discourses and identity politics experienced by traditionally underrepresented groups of workers. As an organizational communication scholar, I privilege voices of the disenfranchised employee and approach my work from cultural-critical and interpretive lenses.