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The Islamic feminist movement has begun to adapt certain Western thought into their efforts to become involved in the global trend towards a more progressive attitude in terms of the rights of women. In fact, the feminist movement in Islam can be seen as the third wave of feminism that is striving to fight against cultural inequalities inherent in some of the more traditional Muslim doctrines (Badran, 1986). This is a battle of cultures, pitting modern thought against the need to maintain ties to a strong faith that has been the cornerstone of much of the world for multiple centuries. To be sure, there are differences of opinion when considering the Islamic feminist movement and how much attention it should even garner. Some would argue that such reform efforts have no place in a discussion surrounding religious faith, while others would contend that religion and modernity can still go hand in hand (Gardner, 2006). This paper will deal with the current trend of Islamic feminism in an effort to bridge these differences of opinion and to move this dominant world religion towards a culture that is more accommodating of individual differences, while still honouring age-old traditions of religious, moral, and social values. The Emergence of Islamic Feminism The United Nations and the Plight of Women: 1975-1985 In the mid 1970s, the United Nations (UN) began a decade long initiative to focus on the plight of women globally. Women from around the globe attended a focused UN summit meeting that was designed to springboard a new attention to feminism worldwide. The idea behind the summit actually began with the general assembly meeting previously held in Mexico. It was there that delegates expressed concerns about the treatment of women worldwide (Gardner, 2006). The fact is that cultural and religious differences likely prohibit a universal feminist movement where all women are subject to the same treatment and the goal of true equality is met. With that being said, delegates to the United Nations increasingly began to feel that there should be a sort of universal declaration of feminist rights that would transcend culture and religion (Gardner, 2006). Out of this was born the idea of the Decade for Women. That General Assembly was reportedly that first major meeting ever held by the United Nations that made women’s rights a primary area of focus (Fraser, 1987). In essence, the General Assembly saw fit to create a declaration that drew from recent Human Rights initiatives, namely that women across the globe should have certain rights, regardless of their religious or cultural background. Subsequently, many left the meeting with a renewed passion for establishing and promoting certain responsibilities that should be shared amongst the countries of the world in terms of equalizing gender relationships in not only the workplace, but the general community as well (Moore and Pubantz, 2008). The idea was to make the feminist movement a focus of future initiatives for the next decade, both at the national and international level. Particular attention would be paid to countries that possessed a less than stellar record in the area of women’s rights. The declaration set forth the notion that both males and females should be viewed as ...Show more


Islamic Feminism Introduction The relationship between Islam and feminism has understandably been a rocky one, and one that has radically changed over the years. At its most fundamental root, Islamic feminism refers to the movement relating the social roles of urban and rural society within the context of maintaining the traditional and historical beliefs of Islam (Moghadam, 2006)…
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