Religion and religious norms historically have played an important role in shaping public policies and public life in many countries around the world. Some countries may experience the impact of religion on their public life more then others. In many countries, this impact ebbed and flowed throughout the course of history. The women's participation in religious institutions around the world varies not only from a religion to religion, but also within the denominations of the same religion and can depend on cultural norms and traditions existing in a country or region.
Educated Asian women religious, pious by nature and characteristically reluctant to challenge authority, nevertheless, feel pinched between the liberating mandates of the gospel, as they have begun to see them, and the more restrictive habits of local bishops. The pot has been simmering for four decades now. Asian women religious, meanwhile, have quietly found ways to take their missions increasingly into their own hands, breaking out of models of religious congregations that have worked to keep clerical institutions running.