Between Equity and Equality: Muslim Women's Dilemma in the Face of Gender Equality

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 09:22
Location: Hörsaal 33 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Ayse SAKTANBER, Middle-East Technical University of Ankara, Turkey
Muslim women’s struggle promoting gender equality has always been faced with suspicion for in Islam women’s and men’s positions are relegated to  an ontological condition. According to this  the concept of gender equality contradicts with the understanding of fýtrat , that of men’s and women’s pre-given natural characteristics  which prevent them from not only playing  equal roles in social life , but also having equal rights  before civil laws. Muslim women usually try  to surmount this  assigned difficulty by  promoting notion of equity through which notion of justice plays a prime role  for the betterment of women’s social position particularly where  women  live under Muslim Law. In order to examine the dilemma of Muslim women in the face of gender equality this paper explores how Muslim women who live under secular regimes like  Turkey try to develop a progressive perspective in pursuing  women’s rights within the framework of equity and raise their voices stronger in some selective issues. Violence against women is one of those issues and Muslim women are so active in rallying  around some civil society organizations specialized about this particular issue, an issue the justification of which is easier for not being blamed as becoming a  feminist when working as a Muslim woman activist. It also discusses how such women activisms give rise to an unprecedented subversive performativity for Muslim women who are carefully  scrutinized particularly by Islamist circles  to see whether they stray away from Islamic rules and regulations when working to promote women’s rights. It also  argues that gender mainstreaming constitutes another problem to overcome this dilemma  by blurring  the boundaries between  gender equality and equity for both Muslim and secular women and creates a double-edged communication and solidarity problems between those women who both yearn for a better world.