Edited by Niamh Reilly and Stacey Scriver

The re-emergence of religion as a significant cultural, social and political, force is not gender neutral. Tensions between claims for women’s equality and the rights of sexual minorities on one side and the claims of religions on the other side are well-documented across all major religions and regions. It is also well recognized in feminist scholarship that gender identities and ethno-religious identities work together in complex ways that are often exploited by dominant groups. Hence, a more comprehensive understanding of the changing role and influence of religion in the public sphere more widely requires complex, multidisciplinary and comparative gender analyses.

Most recent discussion on these matters, however, especially in Europe, has focused primarily on the perceived subordinate status of Muslim women. These debates are a reminder of the deep interrelation of questions of gender, identity, human rights and religious freedom more generally. The relatively narrow (albeit important) purview of such discussions so far, however, underscores the need to extend the horizon of enquiry vis-à-vis religion, gender and the public sphere beyond the binary of ‘Islam versus the West’. Religion, Gender and the Public Sphere moves gender from the periphery to the centre of contemporary debates about the role of religion in public and political life. It offers a timely, multidisciplinary collection of gender-focused essays that address an array of challenges arising from the changing role and influence of religious organisations, identities, actors and values in the public sphere in contemporary multicultural and democratic societies.

Table of Contents


Religion, Gender, and the Public Sphere: Mapping the Terrain (READ IT HERE)
Niamh Reilly

Section I: Identity, Religion, Migration, and Multiculture

Stacey Scriver

Cultural Agency, Critical Agency: Multicultural Feminist Perspectives
Sawitri Saharso

Religion and Gender in Contemporary Political Projects of Belonging
Nira Yuval-Davis

Gendering Religious Capital: A Case Study of Female Mainland Chinese Migrants in Hong Kong
Sam Wong

Gendering Religious Authority in the Diaspora: Shii Women in Ireland
Yafa Shanneik

Section II: Contesting Religious Subjectivities

Eilís Ward

The End of “Woman” and the Ends of Women: A Reflection on Women’s Rights in the Context of Catholicism and the Abortion Debate
Tina Beattie

Contesting Subjectivities: Feminist Hermeneutics of Sikh Scripture 
Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh

The Gendered Politics of Religious Intimacies
Stephanie Y. Mitchem

Gender, Buddhism, and the Bhikkhuni Ordination: Transnational Strategies for the Feminist Transformation of Religion in the 21st Century
Emma Tomalin

Rebellious Bodies and Disordered Desires: The Challenge of Transsexuality to Influential Christian Theologies of Creation
Duncan Dormor

Section III: Religion, Law, and Human Rights

Niamh Reilly

Safeguarding Religious Freedom and Gender Equality: The Case For and Against Uniform European Human Rights Standards
Titia Loenen

Strengthening Women’s Rights in Contexts of Legal Pluralism: The Example of Mahr (Dower) Practices by Pakistani Muslims in Denmark
Rubya Mehdi

Regulating Women's Bodies in the Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights
Esra Demir Gürsel

Guardianship in Marriage: Gender and Islamic Law in Palestine
Fadwa Al-Labadi

The Right to Religion: Equal Right or Male Right?
Alison Stuart

Section IV: Religion, States, and Civil Society

Rachel Pokora

Contentious Encounters: A Comparison of Developments in the Contemporary Indian and Pakistani Women’s Movements’ Relationships with Islam
Nida Kirmani

Feminist Politics and the Governance of Migrant Integration through Religious Organizations
Breda Gray

Defending Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Poland: A Pro-Choice Catholic Perspective
Anka Grzywacz

Religious Persecution in Eritrea and the Role of the European Union in Tackling the Challenge
Daniel R. Mekonnen and Mirjam van Reisen

Section V: Researching Religion, Constructing Knowledge:  Theoretical Revisions and Methodological Challenges

Stacey Scriver

Demythologizing Gender and Religion within Nation-States: Toward a Politics of Disbelief
Naomi R. Goldenberg

From Fraternité to Mixité: Notes on How Gender Matters to the Secular
Sarah Bracke

Exploring Religion, Sexuality, and Identity in Context: Reflections on Sociological Perspectives
Vesna Malesevic


Gender Justice and the “Postsecular” Public Sphere: Toward Non-Oppressive Reconfigurations 
Niamh Reilly and Stacey Scriver


Religion, Gender and the Public Sphere is available
from online booksellers and at the Routledge website.