Why women’s empowerment in Muslim contexts? Developing an interrogative and transformative research framework

Research output: Conference PapersRGC 31A - Invited conference paper (refereed items)Yespeer-review

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Author(s)

  • Vivienne WEE
  • Farida SHAHEED

Related Research Unit(s)

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2009

Conference

TitleSymposium on Interrogating Gendered Power Structures: Developing a Transformative Research Framework for Women’s Empowerment in Muslim Contexts
PlaceChina
CityHong Kong
Period25 February 2009

Abstract

The concept of ‘women’s empowerment’ became prominent in international debates on gender and development in the mid-1980’s, propelled by feminist critiques of development. Since then, ‘women’s empowerment’ has been adopted as the third goal of the nine Millennium Development Goals, agreed upon by member states of the United Nations. However, as noted by Radhika Coomaraswamy, the former UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women observed: ‘There’s a lot of law writing, standard setting, programmes being planned, but the biggest problem…is that people are using culture and religion to deny women’s rights.’ This use of ‘culture and religion to deny women rights’ is a global phenomenon rather than specific to Muslim contexts. Nevertheless, Muslim contexts provide a highly significant example of the power dynamics that actively disempower women because of the growing influence of political Islamists claiming that religion itself legitimises – even demands – the disempowerment of women. An in-depth, context-specific understanding of such dynamics is thus essential. With this aim in mind, the Research Programme Consortium on Women’s Empowerment in Muslim Contexts (WEMC) is developing a research framework to explore, interrogate and make visible the varied ways in which women are being empowered or disempowered in four countries (China, Indonesia, Iran and Pakistan) as well as in cross-border contexts that include Indonesian migrant workers and Afghan refugees. This research framework, published recently by the Southeast Asia Research Centre, City University of Hong Kong, serves as the foundation for building a knowledge base that encompasses diverse narratives of women’s lived realities. The new knowledge gained from this research is intended to point the way to possibilities for transforming gendered power structures.

Citation Format(s)

Why women’s empowerment in Muslim contexts? Developing an interrogative and transformative research framework. / WEE, Vivienne; SHAHEED, Farida.
2009. Symposium on Interrogating Gendered Power Structures: Developing a Transformative Research Framework for Women’s Empowerment in Muslim Contexts, Hong Kong, China.

Research output: Conference PapersRGC 31A - Invited conference paper (refereed items)Yespeer-review