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With Her Feet on the Ground: Women, religion and development in Muslim communities

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There has been a resurgence of donor interest in women and religion, conceptualizing religion alternately as a developmental obstacle, primary developmental issue and developmental solution. Both donors and recipient organizations need to interrogate the discourses underlying this focus and to examine their potentially harmful long-term impact on women's struggles in contexts where identity politics are a key factor in determining women's options. Cassandra Balchin relates the experience of the international solidarity network Women Living Under Muslim Laws. She argues against reinforcing Orientalist othering of women in Muslim contexts and efforts by extreme right politico-religious groups to monopolize definitions of women's role in society, while diverting attention away from the realities of women's struggles in Muslim contexts, secular alternatives and the community, national and international power structures that constrain women's development.Development (2003) 46, 39–49. doi:10.1057/palgrave.development.1110489

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.development.1110489

Affiliations: 1Women Living under Muslim Laws, UK

Publication date: December 1, 2003

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