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Religion, Gender, and Development. November 24, 2004. Religion, Gender and Development. Does gender inequality retard development? Is religion responsible for gender inequality?. Development as Freedom: Amartya Sen. The goal of development is the enhancement of human freedom

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Religion, Gender, and Development

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Religion gender and development

Religion, Gender, and Development

November 24, 2004

Religion gender and development1

Religion, Gender and Development

  • Does gender inequality retard development?

  • Is religion responsible for gender inequality?

Development as freedom amartya sen

Development as Freedom: Amartya Sen

  • The goal of development is the enhancement of human freedom

  • The enhancement of human freedom is the chief instrument of development

Gender inequality 100 million missing women

Gender Inequality: 100 Million Missing Women

  • Gender-based poverty

  • Infanticide

  • Perinatal mortality

  • Health Inequalities

  • Violence

What does religion have to do with gender inequality

What Does Religion Have To Do With Gender Inequality?

Male female sex ratios

Male/Female Sex Ratios

  • 22 of 32 countries with sex ratios exceeding 102/100 are Muslim

  • India has a sex ratio of 106/100

  • China has a sex ratio of 117/100

Male female literacy gap

Male/Female Literacy Gap

  • Muslim countries: 18.7

  • Catholic countries: 4.3

  • India: 26

  • China: 19

Variation between muslim countries

Variation Between Muslim Countries

  • Turkey

  • Indonesia

Religion gender and development

“The central values separating Islam and the West revolve far more centrally around Eros than Demos.”

- Pippa Norris and Ron Inglehart,

Sacred and Secular(2004)

How does gender equity promote development

How Does Gender Equity Promote Development?

  • Increases GDP

    • Reduce illiteracy gap, raise GDP 1%

  • Reduces fertility

    • Raise education level 3 years, reduce birth rate by 1 child

  • Reduces inequality

    • 1% increase in labor force with secondary education increases income to poorest 40 percent by 6-15%

The china india kerala comparison

The China-India-Kerala Comparison:

  • China: compulsory one-child policy 1979-92 reduces birth rate to 2.0

  • India: non-compulsory family planning reduces birth rate to 3.7

  • Kerala: female literacy, health care program reduces birth rate to 1.8

Increase female employment

Increase Female Employment

  • Raises marriage age

  • Increases birth spacing

  • Increases household income

  • Improves child survival rates

  • Improves child weight-height measures

  • Reduces spousal abuse

Progress in empowering women

Progress in Empowering Women

Improve female political participation

Improve Female Political Participation

  • Makes government less authoritarian?

  • Improves welfare and health expenditure?

Women s empowerment how to get there

Women’s Empowerment: How to Get There

  • Electoral quotas for representation

  • Targeted investment in female education

  • Microfinance loans to women

Case study grameen bank bangla desh

Case Study: Grameen Bank, Bangla Desh

  • Female poverty and credit

  • Credit and purdah

  • Credit and gender discrimination

  • Microcredit and Islam

Personal status law

Personal Status Law

  • Liberalize and equalize divorce law

  • Equalize women’s rights in sharia law

  • Enforce property rights for females: inheritance, divorce, succession



  • Authoritarian political leaders

  • Patriarchal family heads

  • Religious authorities

  • Women

Women s opposition

Women’s Opposition

  • The value of religious freedom

  • The value of women’s autonomy

How to bring them along

How to Bring Them Along:

  • Frame this as a development program, not as a women’s issue

  • Frame this as a local strategy, not a Western one

  • Work with men, not against them

  • Work within local institutions, not against them

  • Secure women’s consent: do not take it for granted

Is religion responsible for gender inequality

Is Religion Responsible for Gender Inequality?

  • Religion as a language of social justice

  • Religion as a language of patriarchal authority

  • Religion as a language of individual improvement

  • Religion as a site of political struggle

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