Islamic women’s activism may appear a contradiction in terms to many Western audiences accustomed to presentations of Islam as counterproductive to the promotion of women’s empowerment and the situation of women more generally. Yet in the Arab world (and beyond) many different groups and individuals – as scholars, as charity and welfare providers, and as religious or political activists – work to empower women based on Islamic arguments and references. Islamic women’s activism is an important complement to traditional liberal/secular women’s activism, not least because in many cases it enjoys a wider local legitimacy.
Based mainly on insights from Egypt, Jordan and Morocco, this report provides an easily accessible introduction to Islamic women’s activism in the Arab world. It also considers the potentials and challenges of this activism. The report concludes with a number of recommendations to external actors wishing to engage with Islamic women’s activists.
This platform is part of the Axis 1 "Strengthening the capacities of equality actors" of the Priority Solidarity Fund "Women for the future in the Mediterranean" funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and led by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the project “Developing Women's Empowerment” labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.