"Sworn Virgins: A Balkan Mountain Tradition."
 presented by:
Ms. L. Michelle Fisher

Dr. Jeffery E. Aspelmeier
Abstract.   Worldwide there are cultures that have three or more genders. One commonly overlooked third gender role is encountered in the Balkan Mountains. They are known as ”sworn virgins” and their role has been crucial in preserving small villages in Eastern Europe. A sword virgin is a female that swears to remain celibate for her entire life in exchange for the acquiring the social privileges associated with being a man, such as inheriting property. However, the view of women has changed over the past century, and, as a result, the prevalence of the sworn virgin has significantly declined. It is thought that sworn virgin will die out in the coming century.
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