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Back | Programme Area: Gender and Development (2000 - 2009)

Religion, Politics and Gender Equality (Research and Policy Brief)



Contrary to modernist predictions that religion would retreat into a private zone of worship and practice, recent decades have seen religion become increasingly salient on the political stage worldwide. Does this matter? From the point of view of women’s rights and gender equality, much is at stake. UNRISD research shows that politicized religion impinges on women’s rights in problematic ways. The challenge to gender equality comes not just from fundamentalist agendas, but also from those who instrumentalize women’s rights for political ends.

This Research and Policy Brief explores how religion, as a political force, shapes and deflects the struggle for gender equality in contexts marked by different (i) histories of nationbuilding and challenges of ethnic/religious diversity; (ii) state-society relations (from the more authoritarian to the more democratic); and (iii) relations between state power and religion.

UNRISD Research and Policy Briefs aim to improve the quality of development dialogue. They situate the Institute’s research within wider social development debates, synthesize its findings and draw out issues for consideration in decision-making processes. They provide this information in a concise format that should be of use to policy makers, scholars, activists, journalists and others.

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  • Publication and ordering details
  • Pub. Date: 18 May 2011
    Pub. Place: Geneva
    ISSN: 1811-0142
    From: UNRISD