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“Gender Justice” versus “Gender Equality”Elite Women’s Framing for Political Representation in Iran and Turkey

“Gender Justice” versus “Gender Equality”Elite Women’s Framing for Political Representation in... Much of the literature on women’s-rights activism in the Muslim world presents such activism as employing discourses either of egalitarianism (secular) or of complementarianism (religious). This article analyzes the recent framing of demands for women’s right to political office by elite Islamic women in Iran and Turkey in terms outside this dichotomy. Drawing on data gathered from personal interviews as well as on careful study of public statements and publications by elite women, or those backed by state institutions, this article demonstrates the inadequacy of understanding women’s activism in Muslim contexts as employing either an egalitarian or a complementarian approach by highlighting a more nuanced conceptualization of women’s-rights framing and organizing in accordance with shifting contexts and political ideologies. Specifically, it shows how Islamic women’s-rights activists who are closely affiliated with their governments at times strategically adopt a “gender justice” framing, as opposed to “gender equality,” to appeal to more conservative sectors of their society. This strategy can have important policy implications and lead to shifts in political discourse about women and politics. However, elite women’s backing from and affiliation with conservative ruling elites can lead some groups, particularly secular feminists, to perceive their use of gender justice discourse differently and to be dismissive of their efforts. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Middle East Women s Studies Duke University Press

“Gender Justice” versus “Gender Equality”Elite Women’s Framing for Political Representation in Iran and Turkey

Journal of Middle East Women s Studies , Volume 19 (2) – Jul 1, 2023

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References (87)

Copyright
Copyright © 2023 by the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies
ISSN
1552-5864
eISSN
1558-9579
DOI
10.1215/15525864-10462312
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Much of the literature on women’s-rights activism in the Muslim world presents such activism as employing discourses either of egalitarianism (secular) or of complementarianism (religious). This article analyzes the recent framing of demands for women’s right to political office by elite Islamic women in Iran and Turkey in terms outside this dichotomy. Drawing on data gathered from personal interviews as well as on careful study of public statements and publications by elite women, or those backed by state institutions, this article demonstrates the inadequacy of understanding women’s activism in Muslim contexts as employing either an egalitarian or a complementarian approach by highlighting a more nuanced conceptualization of women’s-rights framing and organizing in accordance with shifting contexts and political ideologies. Specifically, it shows how Islamic women’s-rights activists who are closely affiliated with their governments at times strategically adopt a “gender justice” framing, as opposed to “gender equality,” to appeal to more conservative sectors of their society. This strategy can have important policy implications and lead to shifts in political discourse about women and politics. However, elite women’s backing from and affiliation with conservative ruling elites can lead some groups, particularly secular feminists, to perceive their use of gender justice discourse differently and to be dismissive of their efforts.

Journal

Journal of Middle East Women s StudiesDuke University Press

Published: Jul 1, 2023

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