Religion, Gender and Citizenship Women of Faith, Gender Equality and Feminism
Authors : Nyhagen Line, Halsaa B.
Through interviews with Christian and Muslim women in Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom, this book explores intersections between religion, citizenship, gender and feminism. How do religious women think about citizenship, and how do they practice citizenship in everyday life ? How important is faith in their lives, and how is religion bound up with other identities such as gender and nationality ? What are their views on ’gender equality’, women’s movements and feminism ? The answers offered by this book are complex. Religion can be viewed as both a resource and a barrier to women’s participation. The interviewed women talk about citizenship in terms of participation, belonging, love, care, tolerance and respect. Some seek gender equality within their religious communities, while others accept different roles and spaces for women. ’Natural’ differences between women and men and their equal value are emphasized more than equal rights. Women’s movements are viewed as having made positive contributions to women’s status, but interviewees are also critical of claims related to abortion and divorce, and of feminism’s allegedly selfish, unwomanly, anti-men and power-seeking stance. In the interviews, Christian privilege is largely invisible and silenced, while Muslim disadvantage is both visible and articulated. Line Nyhagen and Beatrice Halsaa unpack and make sense of these findings, discussing potential implications for the relationship between religion, gender and feminism.