Right- Based Equality vs. Faith-Based Equity: Paradoxes of Women's Human Rights in a post-Islamist Context

2017-06-04
Islamist women in Turkey have always been committed to defending their civil rights. For decades their struggle focused on fighting against the headscarf ban in the fields of official work and education initiated by the secular regime. In the last two decades, particularly, during the recent fourteen years of post-Islamist Justice and Development Party’s rule Muslim women became more active in civil society organizations by working on variety of women’s issues ranging from discrimination to violence while also being successful to remove the headscarf ban. They collaborate with feminist women on some topics to the extent that Islam’s embrace of individual freedoms, rights and democracy is promoted in post-Islamism in contrast to Islamism which attempts to monopolize religious truth, overlook plurality and impose certain interpretations of Islamic Law upon polity and society. In this context women’s human rights are considered important but interpreted within the framework of gender equity based on an understanding of equal opportunity in fundamental rights and freedoms designed according to so called natural needs and strengths of men and women. By conducting focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with women who are active in Muslim women’s NGOs this paper dwells on how these women experience gender equality in everyday life regarding domestic division of labor, economic freedom, right to education, reproductive rights and domestic violence and analyzes their evaluation of women’s empowerment. It problematizes whether Muslim women have rights because they are human beings, or whether they have rights because they are Muslim women.

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Citation Formats
A. N. Saktanber, “Right- Based Equality vs. Faith-Based Equity: Paradoxes of Women’s Human Rights in a post-Islamist Context,” presented at the 17th Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Genders and Sexualities (1 - 4 Haziran 2017), Hempstead, NY, USA, 2017, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://berks.confex.com/berks/berks17/webprogram/Paper1944.html.