External Publications and Resources
The following is a list of publications and resources that have been created by other groups that we find relevant to the VNC Campaign. If you have a publications you would like to share with us, please write to:
USA - RELIGION, POLITICS & GENDER EQUALITY (Draft)
Despite the official separation of church and state in the United States, religion and politics are closely intertwined. This intertwining can be attributed both to the profound influence of religious organizations on the political process and to the secular institutions of public life which operate by presuming Protestant norms and values. The authors of this paper argue that the problem for gender equality in the United States is not the influence of religion alone, but Protestant hegemony in terms of both religious influence and secular presumption. They demonstrate this through two contrasting cases studies: policies around human trafficking during the Bush and Obama Administrations and “welfare reform” during the Clinton years. In the case of trafficking, they show how the Bush Administration’s coalition of secular feminist and conservative religious groups has given way under President Obama to a different coalition of faith-based and secular actors characterized by certain continuities of policy aims and method. The most important continuities are the persistence of carceral feminism and militarized humanitarianism. In the case of “welfare reform,” which was supported by a bipartisan coalition of conservative evangelicals and secular advocates, all of the parties used a conservative rhetoric of gender, race, and sexuality to support the policy. This coalition of conservative evangelicals and secular neoliberals easily overwhelmed the direct religious influence of both Catholic and mainline Protestant groups who stood in opposition to “welfare reform.” In both of these cases, it is argued that the major policy alternatives are those that raise not just the issue of religious influence on policies affecting gender equality, but also question neoliberalism and its impact on gender relations and women’s lives. In forming political alliances, the authors emphasize, feminists should situate gender within a broad array of political and economic concerns while challenging Protestant dominance in both its religious and secular guises.
RELIGION, POLITICS AND GENDER EQUALITY IN POLAND
The prestige and the influence of the Polish Church is closely linked to the role it played
historically when Poland was occupied by foreign countries throughout the 19th century.
It then appeared as the only centre of stability and resistance against the invaders, giving force to the equation: ‘Polish = Catholic’. The family was another symbol of Polish
resistance to foreign occupation coupled with the powerful symbol of the ‘Polish Mother’ (mother of God and of the nation). Under the communist regime, far from succeeding, the attempts of the government to discredit the Church and to play down its authority, on the contrary, enhanced its popularity. This became evident in the mass following of the independent trade union Solidarnosc, which also had links with the Church in the 1970s and 1980s. Both held very traditional views of women’s roles (as mother and wife) and took strongly conservative positions on moral values and on reproductive rights more specifically.
Progressive Muslim Feminists in Indonesia from Pioneering to the Next Agendas
In this paper, I explore some progressive Islamic feminist organizations and their contributions to popularizing Islamic reform movements in Indonesia through their popular pioneering agendas. Some pioneers of progressive Muslim feminists, such as P3M, FK3, PUAN Amal Hayati and Rahima have killed two birds with one stone. They made an important impact on reducing stigma against Islamic reform ideas and feminism. Many Indonesian Muslims often consider Islamic reform movements and feminism a Western conspiracy to destroy Islam. Progressive Muslim feminist groups’ approaches to local Muslim scholars of pesantren (traditional Islamic boarding school) are vital in shifting these local leaders to be focal points of Islamic reform. With more popular issues of Islamic reform, such as reproductive rights and domestic violence, they create an efficient step to introduce Islamic reform movements to Muslims at the grassroot level.
HUMAN RIGHTS, STATE AND NON-STATE LAW
This report highlights human rights impacts and dilemmas associated with plural state and non-state laws, such as family laws based on religion, customary justice practices and Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms. Drawing on examples of such plural legal orders from around the world, it proposes principles and a framework to guide human rights practitioners and policy-makers.
The report also identifies challenges related to incorporation of non-state law in state law, recognition of cultural differences in law, and justice sector reform. Emphasising the contested nature of culture, especially when dealing with gender equality, religious freedom and indigenous peoples’ rights, it calls for evidence-based assessments of plural legal orders that give special attention to people on the margins of state and non-state law, and equality between and within communities.
Study on the Freedom of Religion or Belief and the Status of Women From the Viewpoint of Religion and Traditions
1. In many countries forms of discrimination against women are based on or attributed to
religion and culture and may be tolerated or even legalized.
2. International human rights instruments almost all assume gender equality and proscribe
discrimination. However, women’s rights to some individual freedoms such as freedom of
religion or belief may not have received sufficient attention when set against the collective
manifestations of such individual freedoms as those of religion or belief.
3. A basic and sensitive problem arises where the fundamental, universal rights of women are
claimed by religious communities to be in conflict with what are seen as their religious
obligations, which in turn are difficult to differentiate from the cultural or ethnic dimension.
4. The right to difference and cultural specificity implied by freedom of religion or belief is to
some degree incompatible with universal rights, especially those of women, who are often the
victims of a certain view of religious freedom, particularly in situations of conflict and
5. This study addresses these apparent contradictions by seeking to define religion, to see the
relationship of religion to culture, and of universality to cultural specificities.
SILENCE IS VIOLENCE End the Abuse of Women in Afghanistan
Afghanistan is widely known and appreciated for its rich history, culture, literature and
arts as well as its magnificent landscape. It is also widely known that large numbers of
Afghans die, or live wretched lives, because violence is an everyday fact of life. Such
violence is not openly condoned but neither is it challenged nor condemned by society at
large or by state institutions. It is primarily human rights activists that make an issue of
violence including, in particular, its impact on, and ramifications for, women and girls in
Afghanistan. It is also left to a handful of stakeholders to challenge the way in which a
culture of impunity, and the cycle of violence it generates, undermines democratization,
the establishment of the rule of law and other efforts geared to building an environment
conducive to respect for human rights.
Crimes of Honor In Jordan and the Arab World
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 3
2. Definition 3
3. Contextual Background 4
4. Legal Background 5
5. General Locale 6
6. Underlying Rationale (seasons) 7
7. Perpetrators 7
8. The Jordanian Case 8
8-1 General 8
8-2 Combating the Social Syndrome 10
8-3 Defenders 11
8-4 Statistics 11
9. Recommendations 13
10. References 14
HONOUR RELATED VIOLENCE
In this paper we will therefore examine the exact meaning of a number of concepts related to honour related violence, the most important being: honour, social status, face, family, honour killing, honour related violence.
There is a certain tendancy to consider honour related violence a subcategory of domestic violence or of male violence against women. However, the term itself reveals no correlation to that respect. Honour related violence is related to honour just like alcohol is related to alcohol related violence. The term honour related violence in itself therefore does not reveal anything about the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim, the victim's or perpetrator's gender or the place the violence takes place. The only thing it conveys is that in one way or another honour is involved.
To Specify or Single Out: Should We Use the Term “Honor Killing”?
The use of the term ‘honor killing’ has elicited strong reactions from a variety of groups for years; but the recent Aqsa Parvez and Aasiya Hassan cases have brought a renewed interest from women’s rights activists, community leaders, and law enforcement to study the term and come to a consensus on its validity and usefulness, particularly in the North American and European Diaspora. While some aver that the term ‘honor killing’ is an appropriate description of a unique and particular crime, others deem it as rather a racist and misleading phrase used to promote violent stereotypes of particular communities, particularly Muslim minorities in North America and Europe.This article works to lay the groundwork by presenting both sides of the debate over the term ‘honor killing’ and analyzing the arguments various groups use in order to justify their particular definition of the term, and if and how they support its use in public discourse. I argue two main points: one, that ‘honor killing’ exists as a specific form of violence against women, having particular characteristics that warrants its classification as a unique category of violence. Second, I show that while ‘honor killings’ are recognized as such in many non-Western contexts, there is a trend among advocacy organizations in the North American and European Diaspora to avoid, ignore, or rebuke the term ‘honor killings’ as a misleading label that is racist, xenophobic, and/or harmful to Muslim populations. This is a direct response to misuse of the term mostly within media outlets and public discourse that serves to further marginalize Muslim and immigrant groups.
UN Report Emphasizes Role of Men in Eliminating Violence Against Women
In December of 2008, the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women published a report entitled The Role of Men and Boys in Achieving Gender Equality. The report recognizes that the pursuit of gender equality requires the efforts of both men and women, and that achieving meaningful social change necessitates the involvement of both genders.