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Islam, Gender, and Democracy in Comparative Perspective$
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Jocelyne Cesari and José Casanova

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198788553

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198788553.001.0001

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Gender Roles and Political, Social, and Economic Change in Bangladesh and Senegal

Gender Roles and Political, Social, and Economic Change in Bangladesh and Senegal

(p.139) 6 Gender Roles and Political, Social, and Economic Change in Bangladesh and Senegal
Islam, Gender, and Democracy in Comparative Perspective

Katherine Marshall

Oxford University Press

This chapter compares secular and religious influences on evolving gender roles and norms in two long-standing democratically governed countries: Bangladesh and Senegal. A broadly moderate and tolerant character of Islam and generally constructive political engagement between political and religious leaders explain the relative success of these democratic institutions. Religious leaders have generally acquiesced in, if not actively supported, developments such as education for girls and health policies, but tensions have arisen with regard to family law, microcredit, and industrial employment. Religious leadership in both countries remains a male province, though significant groups of women (secular and religious) are contesting traditional religious teachings and tacit understandings of family and leadership. Backlash against women’s public roles and changing family dynamics in both countries is generally linked to more extremist interpretations of Islam, but there are broader conservative pressures, and thus challenging agendas ahead.

Keywords:   backlash, Bangladesh, extremist interpretations, religious leadership, secular, Senegal

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