Muslim women’s Challenges in the Middle East and Beyond

What are the main social, cultural and legal challenges facing Muslim women in the Muslim world and Europe today?

This is the main question of a two day conference held by the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights in cooperation with the Institute for Cultural and Oriental Studies and the Faculty of Theology/Plurel, both University of Oslo.

In a globalized world where information is shared in seconds, where religion plays an increased role in national and international politics and where recent popular uprisings in the Arab world, but also in Iran, have challenged the geopolitical and conceptual frameworks that we used to think within, we want to set the focus on Muslim women’s lives.    

We posit that the challenges Muslim women face are local, but cannot be seen isolated from transnational political and religious trends. At this conference, we therefore ask how the lives of women are affected by the changes that have occurred in the Middle East and North Africa in the last two and a half years, but also how the political, social and cultural transformations in this region impact the lives of Muslim women living in Asia and Europe.

In addition to social and cultural issues, the conference will focus on legal topics, exploring how the political demands of women are translated into legislation and how new or reformed legislation relate to women’s lives. We aim to analyze what role Islam plays in the shaping of laws regulating the rights of women: are we still “witnessing the encounter between two radically opposed value systems: one rooted in the pre-modern conception of justice, gender and rights, as found in Islamic legal discourses that sanction discrimination based upon gender, the other shaped by the contemporary ideals of human rights, equality and personal autonomy, based upon international human rights standards and documents” (Mir-Hosseini 2013), or do women’s lived realities force us to think beyond this established dichotomy?     

See Conference Program for more information. 


Register by  e-mail no later than 10. October 2013.    

Participation is free of charge, but due to limited capacity seats will be awarded on a first-come-first-serve basis.    

Published Oct. 3, 2013 10:29 AM - Last modified Oct. 3, 2013 10:29 AM