New Research Analyzes Intersections between Women’s Rights, Religion and Politics

7 Janvier 2011
Author: UNFPA

UNFPA has been a leader in applying cultural fluency to development and in garnering support from faith-based organizations to help carry out its mandate. These are complicated issues, as two recent papers issued by the UN Research Institute for Social Development and funded by UNFPA reveal. The papers were commissioned as part of a major project to understand more about the relationship between women’s rights, religion and politics.

One of the papers, entitled Religion, Culture and the Politicization of Honour-Related Violence, is a critical analysis of the way ‘honour killings’ figure in policy debates and coverage of immigrant communities in Western Europe and North America. It argues that ‘honour-related’ violence needs is less a cultural or religious issue than it is a specific manifestation of the larger problem of violence against women, shaped and informed by the immigration experience.

The other, entitled Faith-Based Organizations and Service Delivery: Some Gender Conundrums cautions about policy recommendations applicable to all faith-based actors engaged in service delivery. It concludes: “How faith expresses itself vis-à-vis gender issues will vary along the personal belief system of the leadership, those of the practitioners, the context in which they work, the extent of vulnerability and dependence of their constituency on their services as well as other contextual factors (such as the state’s political ideology on gender issues).... In the light of this, in some contexts, it may be possible to engage with faith leaders of organizations delivering services to advance gender agendas, while in others such an assumption is naive in that it does not take into account the power politics behind how agendas are framed."