International: Women Reclaiming and Re-defining Cultures

WLUML Networkers

The aim of the Women Reclaiming and Re-defining Cultures (WRRC) Program, a joint initiative of the international solidarity network Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) and the Institute for Women’s Empowerment (IWE), is to enable women to repossess and reconstruct cultural resources (including within ‘religion’ and ‘tradition’); to claim rights, empowering women vis-à-vis those who use cultural/religious discourse to deny women’s rights. 

Within the broad arena of “culture, sexuality and violence against women”, the program focuses on 3 themes:

  • Culture and violence against women (through the Stop Killing and Stoning Women Campaign (SKSW),
  • Culture and sexuality,
  • Culture and women’s inheritance and property rights.

A large number of organizations, from the eight focus countries and elsewhere, have formed strong networks around each of these themes.

The Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women website, on average, receives 118,150 numbers of hits per month from users around the globe. The funding made available through this program enables our partner in Aceh, Indonesia, to join other women and human rights organizations, who are opposing the introduction of a law (‘qanun’) passed in September 2009 by the Aceh Legislative Council (DPRD), which expanded the range of violent punishments for alleged moral and sexual transgressions, including stoning to death for “adultery” and 100 lashes for homosexuality. Research and documentation on the root causes culturally-justified VAW and its various manifestations have been completed and are now being published to support advocacies and networking  by partners in 8 countries in Asia and Africa.The financial support of this program in the culture and sexuality theme enables one of our partner organization in Gambia to develop an advocacy tool by documenting cases of women who have undergone female genital mutilation(FGM),showing the hazards of the practice for women’s reproductive health to prevent the perpetuation of the practice while another partner promotes women’s health, self esteem and social skills through boxing training for young lesbians in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Meanwhile, hundreds of sources, from progressive interpretations of religious and customary rights to women’s successful strategies and literature promoting women’s inheritance and land rights have been identified and annotated, and will be compiled into a database for future use and reference of  concerned organizations and individuals around the globe. We believe that making information accessible globally is one of the most important strategies for defeating the widespread mis-use of religion and culture against women.

Description of the project

The main goal of the project is to strengthen women’s individual and collective struggles for equality and their rights, especially in Muslim contexts through providing information, support and a collective space for women whose lives are shaped, conditioned or governed by laws and customs said to be derived from Islam. The countries where this project will be implemented are: Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria, Paktistan, Senegal and Sudan.

Amount granted

€ 1,500,000