Academic journal article Journal of International Affairs

Beyond Feminism and Islamism: Gender and Equality in North Africa

Academic journal article Journal of International Affairs

Beyond Feminism and Islamism: Gender and Equality in North Africa

Article excerpt

BEYOND FEMINISM AND ISLAMISM: GENDER AND EQUALITY IN NORTH AFRICA

Doris H. Gray

(New York: I. B. Tauris, 2013), 239 pages.

Although the media frequently reports gender oppression in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), such reports rarely incorporate a thorough treatment of the different perceptions and ideals of these women, particularly those in leadership roles. In the wake of the Arab Spring, Gray potently explores this important area of scholarship by taking a historical perspective and exploring the contemporary shifts in the dialectical discourse regarding gender taking place in Morocco, a monarchial society in flux.

Her argument reveals how Islam serves as a platform for feminist activism, and how Koranic verses serve as catalysts for Muslim women to claim rights in a patriarchal society. Through voicing the beliefs and following the trajectories of Islamic feminist groups, Gray effectively explores the unexpected dichotomy between theological interpretations of Islam in favor of gender justice and socio-cultural interpretations, often upheld in patriarchal societies that lead to oppression of women. …

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