When talking about freedom of religion or belief (FORB) violations, women’s experiences are often overlooked. Men often occupy leadership positions in religious communities and therefore are more exposed to FoRB violations that are public and visible, such as harassment, physical attacks, or incarceration. Discrimination against women, on the other hand, are more subtle and often less visible. FoRB challenges faced by women are related to different aspects of private life, such as dress code, family life (marriage, divorce, custody rights), access to worship places, and right to practice their faith freely. Often women are subjected to double discrimination and suffer because of their gender and religious identity.
FORB violations against women occur worldwide, within all religions and belief communities. Some would argue that restrictions of women’s rights in general and religious praxis in particular, are part of their religious teachings and therefore are protected by the right to freedom of religion or belief. Others think that women’s freedom and equality can only be achieved if they leave their religious communities and faith behind. Is it then possible to champion FORB and women’s rights at the same time? Why should we include a gender perspective when addressing FORB issues? How would synergies between FoRB and women’s rights look like?
In this webinar we will give a short introduction to the intersection of FoRB and women’s rights. We will also hear stories from women of faith from Thailand, Myanmar and Malaysia, sharing their experiences of being targeted, discriminated or excluded because of their religious identity and of their gender. After each presentation there will be time for group reflections.
- Vija Herefoss, adviser at Stefanus Alliance International
- Venerable Dhammananda Bhikkuni
- Rozana Isa, Executive Director of Sisters in Islam
- Nang Moet Moet, Joint General secretary of Women’s League of Burma
Organized by SAI