Accepted paper:

Muslim Women-gendered universality of legal rights and cultural pluralism


Shalina Mehta (Panjab University Chandigarh)

Paper short abstract:

Islam defines moral obligations, legal and cultural rights of Muslim women in general. For decades now , there is contestant over who has the right to define these rights for these women. Universal declaration on human rights proposes gender equality in its own terminology. Religious fundamentalist have their own code of conduct and orthodox regimes propose their own charter of control mechanisms. Muslim women in different parts of the world have varied individual perceptions and patterns of conformance. This paper examines conformance, conflicts and ruptures that Muslim women in different parts of Asia are articulating.

Paper long abstract:

The subject of control over women's bodies as an expression of political power has been debated for decades now. In this context status of Muslim women in parts of Asia has invited most attention and controversy. In recent years several countries in Asia have witnessed political and social turmoil and universality of women's rights as a western caricatured subjectivity. This has been questioned both by women in these countries and by scholars working on gender studies from different parts of the world.This paper examines position of Muslim women in a comparative perspective drawing data from primary studies and comparing it with commentaries that appear in the popular media and official UN documents. Primary data is obtained from India and Iran and in-puts received from visiting colleagues and friends from Pakistan and Afghanistan. Secondary data will be drawn form UN websites, debates on gender forums, News papers and journals on women studies. It is an attempt to comprehend complexities of these debates in a holistic perspective.

panel G38
Contesting universality and particularity in legal and cultural pluralism: an interdisciplinary approach (IUAES Commission on Legal Pluralism)