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Fundamentalisms and Women's Rights

Fundamentalisms are on the rise around the world with negative consequences for women’s rights. In a broad sense fundamentalism can be understood as a selective and rigid interpretation, and imposition, of religious laws and sacred texts as a basis for ordering a society and political control. However religious fundamentalism is not a monolithic entity – there are a wide range of fundamentalisms around the world, covering different religions, each drawing on specific ‘traditional’ cultural ideologies and practices in order to uphold a moral or political agenda.

There have recently been a number of shocking attacks on women given high profile in the international news – including the abduction of nearly 300 girls in Nigeria by Boko Haram, a Sudanese woman given the death sentence for refusing to renounce Christianity and a very visible ‘honour killing’ of a woman on the steps of the Lahore High Court. Violence Against Women, and a general lack of respect for the principles of human rights, is a common feature of fundamentalisms. The issue of women – especially imposing control around their roles, movements and bodies – is one of the central focuses of all fundamentalist discourses.

This guide features a handful of excellent resources on this difficult and broad issue including: practical guidance on fundamentalisms for human rights activists; regional studies into Christian and Islamic fundamentalist discourses around sexual and reproductive health and rights; recommendations on broadening understanding and developing more nuanced approaches to tackling fundamentalisms; an overview of women’s rights in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Understanding Religious Fundamentalisms for Activists
Association for Women's Rights in Development, 2014
This user-friendly resource manual was created for rights activists facing religious fundamentalist opposition to their work. It brings together the innovative research and analysis produced by the Association for Women In Development...