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GLOBAL CASE STUDIES: MUSLIM WOMEN PIONEERS AFFECT CHANGE ON THE FRONTLINE – FACILITATING MUSLIM WOMEN’S RECOGNITION OF SELF AS LEADER.

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Presentation on theme: "GLOBAL CASE STUDIES: MUSLIM WOMEN PIONEERS AFFECT CHANGE ON THE FRONTLINE – FACILITATING MUSLIM WOMEN’S RECOGNITION OF SELF AS LEADER."— Presentation transcript:

1 GLOBAL CASE STUDIES: MUSLIM WOMEN PIONEERS AFFECT CHANGE ON THE FRONTLINE – FACILITATING MUSLIM WOMEN’S RECOGNITION OF SELF AS LEADER

2 A PRESENTATION BY MUFULIAT DASOLA FIJABI INDEPENDENT CONSULTANT ON WOMEN’S RIGHTS ISSUES LAGOS, NIGERIA

3 FACILITATING MUSLIM WOMEN’S RECOGNITION OF SELF AS LEADER Outline 1. Contexts/background 2. Understanding why women do not recognize self as leaders The existence of various myths on Muslim Women’s Leadership The impact of culture on Leadership of Muslim Women Challenges with poor economic empowerment Not breaking the silence on domestic and violence against women issues like battery, and divorce Lack of mechanisms to effectively manage reported cases

4 Outline Contd.  3. Strategies used for intervention -Demystification of myths around women and leadership in Muslim contexts -Development of steps to seek and access new information - Facilitating sessions on understanding the implication of diverse Muslim laws on the lives of Muslim women Specific case studies of impacts made Women in the grassroots Professional women

5 1. Contexts/background  My presentation will focus on practical examples based on experiences of conducting leadership trainings for Muslim women from diverse backgrounds and how they come into the training as non leaders even though they exhibit leadership roles. More often than not they leave the training more empowered seeing themselves as leaders and with hopes of taking on more leadership roles.

6 2. Understanding why women do not recognize self as leader  The existence of various myths on Muslim Women’s Leadership  Muslim women grow up into knowing that there is an hadith that describes any nation ruled by a woman as cursed. This creates a lot of fear in the hearts of many Muslim women. This is coupled with the verse of the Quran that says that ‘men are a degree above women..’ which has been interpreted in some contexts to mean that men are superior and women are secondary and should remain in that position without asking any question thus reiterating the stereotype

7 2. Not recognizing self as leaders contd.  Of course we know that this hadith is not realistic because in the Quran we have the examples of the Queen of Sheba, Bilqees, during the life time of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) we have the examples of Khadija a powerful and successful business leader, Aisha, an important institution in the history of Islam

8 2a.The impact of culture on Leadership of Muslim Women  Most cultures are patriarchal in nature. The adherents of these cultures are also Muslims. Logically a patriarchal culture plus conservative interpretation of texts in Islam has contributed to streamlining the minds of Muslim women to accept that they are not leaders. Although these women are Muslims, they cite several instances from their cultural backgrounds to buttress the fact that women are not supposed to be leaders.  Consequently women see themselves as secondary citizens and not a key player in scheme of activities

9 2 b. Challenges with poor economic empowerment  Although Muslim women are capable of carrying out profitable businesses, frequently when not educated they have access to limited resources to carry out businesses. For the educated ones not all of them have access to paid jobs and with little or no resources to start a business of their own. In spite of these challenges, the women shoulder several economic responsibilities in the family.

10 2c. Not breaking the silence on violence against w o m e n ; b a t t e r y, d i v o r c e, e t c.  In spite of the provisions in the Qur’an that protect women’s rights, Muslim women experience violence but are afraid to talk about it  Some of them believe that it is a religious injunction ‘… beat them lightly. Quran 4 vs. 34. In Nigeria, section 55 of the Northern Penal Code for example encourages beating of women based on the interpretation of these verse. Nigerian Women’s rights activist have continued to campaign against this law.

11 Violence contd. Psychological pains and fear of stigma also make it difficult for women to come out to talk about issues  The consequences of divorce on women is unquantifiable. Experiences shared by these women show that due process is not followed by their husbands when they were divorced, they are faced with challenges of meeting their daily needs, denied custody of their children at times

12 2d. Poor Economic Empowerment contd.  As a result, a number of these women strive to meet up with their economic needs and with little or no attention to developing the self further. For example, they hardly have time to read the Qur’an themselves but quick to listen to any sermons/ interpretations that come their ways. A number of women I have come across during these trainings confessed that reading the Qur’an and other Islamic materials was the least on their list of schedule. In essence, they observe their salat and other obligatory acts but have not yet come to terms to how their lives could be better by active participation in discourses that affect their access to rights given to them by the Qur’an

13 3. LACK OF MECHANISMS TO MANAGE REPORTED CASES Lack of sufficient and well designed avenues to manage cases reported does not encourage other women to report and seek help when affected VAW

14 4. Strategies used for intervention a. As a way forward, participants to a typical leadership training are asked to talk about their perception of leadership at the commencement of the training Here are some of their comments: ‘Men are the only leaders’ ‘Women should not be leaders’ ‘It is forbidden for women to be leaders’

15 Strategies for intervention contd.  ‘As a woman I can never be a leader’  Using the Qur’an and Hadith, examples of the roles of women in Islamic history  Most importantly, the principle of equality as emphasized in the Qur’an is also reiterated  Finally, a work through the modules of the leadership training.

16 Strategies for intervention contd. Development of steps to seek and access new information/interpretation  Encouraging women to read, understand and interpret the Qur’an by themselves. Some works have been done see

17 Strategies for intervention contd.  Diversity of Muslim Laws:  Often times Sharia laws are described as divine but in actual fact they are derived from the Qur’an which is divine and from a combination of other source of laws in Islamic laws which are not free from subjective human interpretations. Hence the presence of different Muslim laws on different issues in different Muslim contexts depending on their own interpretations and their contexts.

18 Strategies for intervention contd.  Muslim women need to understand that women’s leadership is not questioning the divinity of the Qur’an but he practices and interpretations that are against the Muslim women’s leadership

19 Strategies for intervention contd. Developing/sharpening the leadership skills:  Using the ‘leading to Choices ‘ Leadership Training Manual  Communication skills  Interpersonal relationships  Developing and implementing a plan of action  Collaborations and Mobilizing for actions

20 Women’s Learning Partnership for Rights, Peace and Development  Partners, Nigeria, Morocco, Afghanistan, Jordan, Lebanon, I Partners, Nigeria, Morocco, Afghanistan, Jordan, Lebanon, I     New Projects  The Training of Trainers global initiative  The youth ICT Project  The Political Participation Manual – leading to action

21 5. Specific case studies of impacts made Women in the grassroots Leadership training is a strategic tool to consistently expand the fold and increase the number of Muslim women leaders regardless of the diversity. Women in the grass roots uneducated and unlettered from past trainings have achieved self realisation and sharpened their communication, interpersonal skills and see themselves as leaders who can bring about change in their own communities

22 Professional women Most of us here fall within these categories BUT What kind of leadership do we exhibit? Are our leadership skills sustainable? Does leadership end with us?

23 Conclusions  Facilitating the process to build capabilities to change the perception of Muslim women on leadership is a strategic pillar in determining the roles and status of women in any development process. Muslim women should therefore be part of leadership process and not at the back.


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