Publication Announcement: Women and Constitutions in Muslim Contexts Edited By Vrinda Narain and Mona Tajali

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We are delighted to announce the publication of

Women and Constitutions in Muslim Contexts

Edited By: Vrinda Narain and Mona Tajali

The transformative power of constitutions as the foundation of law in shaping and changing social structures, such as economic, political, and cultural processes, and, of course, the rights of women as citizens, is widely recognized. Yet, not enough attention is paid to constitutionalizing women’s rights and gender equality, which is a precondition for creating a vibrant, plural democratic society. When Women Living Under Muslim Laws embarked on its Constitutionalizing Women’s Equality Rights in Muslim Contexts project, together with the McGill Center for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, they organized a series of lectures and webinars to examine how constitutions in Muslim-majority and minority societies, including Afghanistan, Algeria, India, Iran, Morocco, Sudan, and Tunisia, address women’s rights and gender equality. The results of these vibrant webinars are published by Revival Press in this volume edited by Vrinda Narain and Mona Tajali, entitled “Women and Constitution in the Muslim Contexts” (2024).

Table of Contents

Series Introduction 


  1. Women and Constitutions in Muslim Contexts: An Introduction

Vrinda Narain 1

  1. Women’s Rights Reform in North African Constitutions: Plus ça change?

Aili Mari Tripp 40

  1. Constitutionalising Muslim Women’s Rights: A Perspective from India

Vrinda Narain 68

  1. Vali-e Faqih and his Female Subjects: Women in the Iranian Constitution

Fatemeh Sadeghi 98

  1. Women’s Rights in the Islamic Republic’s Constitution of 2004 and the Taliban’s Draft Constitution of 2005

Palwasha Kakar 129 (iii)


This book is premised on the understanding that women’s inclusion in constitutional politics is critical for our equality. In the present political context, particularly Muslim contexts, it is imperative to promote women’s equality both in law and in practice, so that women can move closer towards equality. Utilising a feminist constitutionalist approach, this book highlights the impact of women’s historical underrepresentation in constitutional drafting processes and discussions across the globe, as well as recent feminist interventions to address legislative processes that consider women’s needs and interests. It reflects on the role of Islam in politics and governance, and the varied ways in which Muslim-majority countries, as well as Muslim-minority countries, have sought to define women’s citizenship rights, personal freedoms, and human rights from within or outside of a religious framework. Recognising the importance of Constitutions for the recognition, enforcement and protection of women’s rights, this book explores how women seek justice, equality, and political inclusion in their diverse Muslim contexts.

The book advocates for more inclusive constitutional drafting processes that also consider diverse cultural contexts, political history, and legal and institutional developments from a gendered lens. Tracing the ways in which women are empowered and exercise agency, insist on inclusion and representation in politics and seek to enshrine their rights, the contributing authors present case studies of Afghanistan, Algeria, India, Iran, Morocco, Sudan, and Tunisia. Positioned at the crossroads of secular and religious legal forces, the book situates women’s rights at the centre of debates surrounding constitutional rights guarantees, gender equality, and religious rules and norms. The contributors offer a range of disciplinary approaches and perspectives that illustrate the richness and complexity of this field. The dominant emergent themes that each contributor tackles in considering how women’s rights impact, and are, in turn, impacted by Constitutions, are those of critical junctures such as revolutions or regime change which provide the impetus and opportunity for women’s rights advocates to push for greater equality; the tension between religion and women’s rights, where women’s legal disadvantage is justified in the name of religion, and finally, the recognition of the important role women’s movements play in advocating and organizing for equality. While much has been written about the constitutional processes of the past decade across the Muslim world as a result of pro-democratic uprisings, revolutions, and even regime change, most of such analyses lack a gendered lens, disregard women’s perspectives and fail adequately to acknowledge the significant role of women in constitutional moments. Even less has been written about the importance of constitutionalizing women’s equality rights in Muslim contexts. This edited volume is an effort to fill this gap in the literature. It will appeal to a broad range of scholars, students and activists in the areas of Muslim constitutionalism, feminist constitutionalism, Muslim law and society, gender studies, anthropology, and political science, religious studies and area studies.