President Heidi Hadsell‘s article, “Religion: Empowering or Oppressive to Women?,” was published recently by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University.
The article discusses Dr. Hadsell’s experience at a mosque in Worcester in March during International Women’s Day as an example that counters some common assumptions about Islam. It begins:
When one speaks about Islam to almost any group in the United States, one of the first questions posed is always about Muslim women. Invariably, the assumption behind the question is that Islam is irrevocably and uniformly oppressive to women. In response to such questions, I draw upon my strongly held conviction and insist that religions in general can be, have been, and are both oppressive and empowering to women, depending on a wide range of factors that interact in complex ways. Rather than speaking in generalities, I have found it is helpful and important to note the many ‘facts on the ground’ that provide counterexamples to this assumption that Islam is oppressive to women.
“This example comes from an all-day event I attended at a mosque in Worcester, Massachusetts on March 8, 2014 in celebration of International Women’s Day. I had been invited to speak on a panel alongside two Muslim women about our experiences being women in leadership positions.”
To read the rest of the article, click here.