New Insights on Religious Fundamentalisms

New Insights on Religious Fundamentalisms

What are religious fundamentalisms? How do they impact womens rights? YFA Wire & Resisting and Challenging Religious Fundamentalisms e-learning 2 Dec. 2011, 10 am 12 pm EST Session Outline 1.Introduction (Background, Terminology, Concepts)- 25 mins 2.Questions and Clarifications - 20 mins 3. Rise and Impacts of Religious Fundamentalisms - 25 mins 4. Questions and Discussion - 50 mins Resisting and Challenging Religious

Fundamentalisms initiative Started in 2007, goals of the initiative are to: Create new, strategic knowledge and share information on religious fundamentalisms (RFs) Increasing spaces for dialogue and exchange Engage in advocacy and support strategies of resistance against RFs Research Sources & AWIDs Resources Survey (1,600+ responses) & young feminists survey from over 100 countries 65+ in-depth interviews Strategic dialogues & consultations, Young Womens Institute 18 case studies on feminist strategies from around the world What do you think of when you think of Religious Fundamentalisms?

Type in a few words. remember: no right or wrong & no judgements; just the first thoughts, words or images that come to mind... Religious Fundamentalisms Exist: across regions and in major & minor religions: Christian fundamentalisms Jewish fundamentalisms Muslim fundamentalisms Hindu fundamentalisms Buddhist fundamentalisms

etc., etc. Religious fundamentalisms Religion A Definition Shared Characteristics Absolutist & Intolerant 42% Anti-women & Patriarchal24% About the Fundamentals of Religion18% About Politics & Power 17% Anti-HR & Freedom 17% Literalist & Outmoded 11% Violent 6% About Culture & Tradition 2%

survey question: How would you define RFs? Some Examples of Definitions - Absolutist and Intolerant Dogmatic thinking and action that defends certain religious positions as unique, true and unchangeable. - Roxana Vazquez Sotelo, Peru RFs are institutions, ideas and cultural practices that, from a single and dogmatic vision of reality, attempt to impose values, behaviours and forms of social organizations and hierarchies, violently excluding and persecuting any differing perspective and practice. - Daptnhe Cuevas and Marusia Lpez Cruz, Mexico Some Examples of Definitions - About Power and Politics

... the use of religion (and often, ethnicity and culture as well) to gain and mobilize political power. Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) "fundamentalisms is the strategic deployment of monolithic cultural, religious, ethnic or nationalist discourses for the purpose of securing hegemonic political power - Madhu Mehra, Asia Pacific Forum on Women Law and Development (APWLD) Some Examples of Definitions - Opposing Womens Rights and Human Rights RFs include any set of norms or dictates that restrict the freedom of thought, movement, work, marital status, sexual orientation, political

participation and education and the basis of divine law. - survey respondent, Israel From the Survey: Usefulness of the Term 2 survey questions: Do you find the term RFs useful in your work? Not Sure; 24.00% Yes; 51.00% No; 25.00% If not, why isnt the term useful? Stresses / Reinforces negative stereotypes 28% Not relevant to my work

15% Validates RFs claims of religious authenticity 10% Too jargonistic / not clear / not understood 7% Targets Muslims or Islam 6% Our strategy is, dont discuss religion

5% Religious Fundamentalisms also relate to identity politics: Tradition Culture Nationalism Ethnicity and Power and Politics Resources Neoliberal Capitalism Questions and Clarifications Discussion questions: Does this terminology work for you in your activism? How do people understand religious fundamentalisms

in your context? Impacts of RFs on Womens Rights Are RFs on the Rise? Not sure/Other Decreased Cyclic 51% 25% 4%7% 9%

Gl Increased somewhat Increased a lot 30% 30% 6% 10% 12% In the context of you... survey question: Over the last 10 years, how has the strength of RFs changed in

each of the following contexts? Relative Influence of RF Forces survey question: Compared to other political forces in the context of your work, how much do RFs obstruct womens rights? combined: 69% 44% 25% 15% 8% other forces

5% Somewhat more than other forces 4% About the same as other forces Not sure & Not applicable (combined) Somewhat less than other forces Much less than oth Influence of Diverse RF Actors NGOs / charities with fundamentalist tendencies or l... 23% 39% Secular political parties whose leaders have fundamentalist l...

23% 36% Religious political par... 24% 31% Militant parties / groups with religious disco... 25% 31% International religious institutions, organizations, gr...

26% Local / National religious institutions, organizations, gr... Religious lea... 41% 45% survey question: In your work, how influential are the following fundamentalist actors or forces? Somewhat influential Very influential

39% 40% 35% Most Frequent Targets of RF Violence % of survey respondents Targets of RF verbal or physical attack 77% Human rights activists 77% Women in general

75% LGBTQI people and groups 75% People who do not match the RFs expected norms survey question: Thinking about your work over the past 10 years, which of the following groups have been targeted by RFs for verbal or physical attack? Impacts of RFs on Womens Rights Very positive impact; 2.00% Somewhat positive impact; No impact; 4.00%

7.00% Not sure; 8.00% Somewhat negative impact; 42.00% Very negative impact; 37% + 42% = 37.00% 79% Negative survey question: In the last 10 years, what would you say has been the overall impact of RFs on womens rights in the context of your work?

Findings: Impacts of RFs Reproductive rights & health LGBTQI rights / Sexual rights Rights for women in family laws Rights for women in the public sphere

Rights for women in property & economic sphere Pluralism & tolerance in society Control of individual, community and public policy choices in e.g., education, family life & sexuality Physical & psychological violence against women, individual, family + community/state

Violence and intimidation vs. opponents & dissidents Leads to Negative impact on pluralism, democracy, human rights, development Questions and Discussion Discussion questions: Do you sense that there is a rise in RFs in your context? What examples of impacts of RFs have you noticed in your own activism or contexts? Do you think there is difference in the way that different generations experience RFs?

Keep in Touch! For any comments, questions or delayed reactions, or if you want to be added to our e-list so you can receive the monthly Facing Fundamentalisms newsletter, please write to: [email protected]

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