From 5 - 6 June 2009, UNRISD sponsored a conference in collaboration with the Heinrich Böll Foundation, 'Religion Revisited: Women's Rights and the Political Instrumentalism of Religion' in Berlin, Germany. Part of the research project 'Religion, Politics and Gender Equality', the conference invited scholars and feminist activists from Germany, India, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, United Kingdom, and the United States to discuss the question of how to deal with religions in the fight for women’s rights and gender equality.
As strict separation of religion, on the one hand, and the state, politics and civil society, on the other, exists in only a minority of countries, religions worldwide still affect state structures and public opinion. For women and their right to equality, there is much at stake in how religion and politics intertwine. Religious and political leaders often mobilize religious beliefs in political interventions to constrain women’s rights and gender equality. However, religions also play an important role in the lives of many people. They often open up new spaces for women’s societal participation, and religiously grounded claims about the fundamental equality of all human beings have provided important inspiration to emancipatory movements for human rights and democracy.
Is the strict separation of religion and politics a requirement for women’s rights and gender equality? Or can they be realized in the context of public religions? Are religious movements allies or threats in the struggle for women’s rights? These questions and others were addressed at the upcoming conference.
For more information about this event, please visit the Heinrich Böll Foundation's website