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Mosques as gendered spaces: The complexity of women’s compliance with, and resistance to, dominant gender norms, and the importance of male allies

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journal contribution
posted on 20.05.2019, 13:05 authored by Line NyhagenLine Nyhagen
Women’s presence and role in contemporary mosques in Western Europe is debated within and outside Muslim communities, but research on this topic is scarce. Applying a feminist lens on religion and gender, this article situates the mosque as a socially constituted space that both enables and constrains Western European Muslim women’s religious formation, identity-making, participation, belonging, and activism. Informed by qualitative interviews with twenty Muslim women residing in Norway and the United Kingdom, the article argues that women’s reflexive engagement simultaneously expresses compliance with, and challenges to, male power and authority in the mosque. It contends that a complex practice of accommodation and resistance to “traditional” gender norms is rooted in the women’s discursive positioning of “authentic Islam” as gender equal. While men typically inhabit positions of religious and organizational power in mosques, the article also suggests the importance of male allies in women’s struggles for inclusion in the mosque.

Funding

This research was funded by the European Commission’s 6th Framework Programme (2007–2011) within the project ‘FEMCIT: Gendered Citizenship in Multicultural Europe: The Impact of Women’s Movements’ (www.femcit.org).

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies

Published in

Religions

Volume

10

Issue

5

Pages

1 - 15 (15)

Citation

NYHAGEN, L., 2019. Mosques as gendered spaces: The complexity of women’s compliance with, and resistance to, dominant gender norms, and the importance of male allies. Religions, 10(5): 321.

Publisher

© the Authors. Published by MDPI AG

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Acceptance date

30/04/2019

Publication date

2019-05-14

Notes

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by MDPI under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

eISSN

2077-1444

Language

en