Dossier Articles

Although all countries are unique, Iran may have claim to more surprising political changes in the past century than any other country existing continuously during that period. Among these changes have been notable alterations in women’s roles and status. The birth of urban mass politics during the constitutional revolution of 1906-11 saw women’s first political activism, which continued after World War 1, though that independence was eventually much diminished under the new Pahlavi dynasty of Reza Shah (1921-41) (Afary, 1996; Bayat, 1978; Paidar, 1995; Sanasarian, 1982).
While the increasing internationalization of feminism provides new prospects for women’s solidarity throughout the world, theoretical perspectives such as identity politics, cultural relativism and postmodernism emphasize the uniqueness, particularism, and localism of each and every feminist movement.

Using the often scarce space available to them in very different political circumstances, women’s strategies in defence of their human rights range from entryism to internationalism.

While fundamentalists read all women’s strategies as equally significant of betrayal of their identity, liberals outside Muslim countries and communities - and increasingly inside too - select the entryist strategy as the only legitimate one insofar as it matches our “nature”.

While the women’s movement remains united in standing for the need to use
The Muslim world in context

Internationally, it has become quite fashionable to speak of living in a global village. The expression is usually intended to positively express the linkages now established throughout the world, the similarities of issues confronting the different people who inhabit it and our ability, therefore, to connect with one another.
Feminist critiques of gender-neutral approaches to the study of labour markets have demonstrated that gender relations do not simply articulate with, but are part of, the very fabric of labour markets as they have developed. That is, gender is a constitutive element in the formation of labour markets.

Following independence in 1991, the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan has been undergoing sweeping social, political and economic changes, all deeply affecting the country's women. However, women's problems continue to be ignored, while the role of women has become a battleground between the various forces, including fundamentalism, which seek to fill the ideological vacuum left by the collapse of Soviet power.
In the Arab world, a woman must convince the court that she is 'harmed' by her husband to get a divorce.

The Current Status

The current status of personal status laws in Arab countries have three distinct flaws: the absence of a unified law, the absence of equality between men and women, and the absence of equality between people of different religious denominations. We shall speak briefly of each to explain.

Customary and religious laws and practices are often used as tools to control women's sexuality and to maintain the imbalance of power in sexual relations. This paper describes customary and religious laws and beliefs, and their impact on the situation of both rural and urban women in Eastern Turkey, based on a study among 599 women from the region, most of whom are or have been married.
• Excerpts from: New York Times, November 28, 1999

Sufia Kamal, Bangladeshi Writer and Women's Rights Advocate, Dies
By Douglas Martin

Sufia Kamal, a Bangladeshi poet, political activist and feminist, died at age 88 on Nov. 20 1999 and was buried [...] with full state honors, the first woman to receive that recognition from Bangladesh. [...] [Thousands] of people paid their respects to Ms. Kamal at her funeral [...] in Dhaka. [...] [Begum Kamal] ...

The objective of this paper is to provide a historical overview of the processes of communal identity formation in Sri Lanka with special reference to the Muslim community [1]. Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic society in which Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and others have coexisted for centuries. However, in more recent times, ethnic relations on the Island have been consistently strained by the rise of communalist politics which have deepened ethnic and religious divides.