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A double-edged sword: challenging women's oppression within Muslim society in northern Nigeria.

Authors
  • Adamu, F L
Type
Published Article
Journal
Gender and development
Publication Date
Mar 01, 1999
Volume
7
Issue
1
Pages
56–61
Identifiers
PMID: 12295342
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

This paper reports the consequences experienced by Islam women attempting to reform gender relations among Muslim societies in northern Nigeria. The article also examines the problems encountered and its relation to the ideas, plans, and programs of gender and development (GAD) programs. In Muslim communities, few men or women disagree with the content of the GAD program aimed at addressing women's practical needs and interests, or the reform of gender relations. However, many question the GAD program on principle, viewing them as illegitimate because they are "Western" in nature. In line with this, many Muslim activists may have been branded as Western agents, funded by foreign powers to undermine Islam. As a result of this attitude, fund sources show mistrust to organizations which have religious affiliation, which further affects the aim of the organizations which is to address Muslim women's needs. Furthermore, the GAD program, which focuses solely on women's issues, only created an impression that only women are vulnerable to Western influences. The program also suggests suspicion on the issue of gender and development which hardened their stand against interventions to promote women's interests and needs. Finally, the difficult and fragile relationship between Islamic women's organization and international donor organizations, which are predominantly from Western societies with a Christian heritage, perpetuates the marginalization of Muslim women activists in the transformation of their society and religion.

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