Women Transforming the Middle East

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Isobel Coleman, senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, discusses how the rise of a political Islam, which often condemns women’s empowerment as anti-Islamic, Western cultural imperialism, has strengthened the women’s movement. InParadise Beneath Her Feet: How Women Are Transforming the Middle East, she shows how the growing movement of Islamic feminism has led Muslim women and men to develop progressive interpretations of Islam to support women’s rights.


Isobel Coleman

Comments [7]


(sorry re: typo -- i meant to say "outside home vs. in"...)

Jul. 13 2010 12:33 PM

Leonard and speaker, you were just talking about hypocrisy in Iran with regard to women wearing veil outside home vs. out. It is NOT an issue of hypocrisy, this double life you mention, with regard to Iran. Remember, in Iran the hejab is OBLIGATORY. If Ms. Coleman were traveling to Iran she would have to don a hejab as well, anywhere in public. Note that most Iranian women traveling outside of the country chose NOT to wear the hejab. This is not an issue of hypocrisy, this is an issue of the laws of the regime!

Jul. 13 2010 12:30 PM

It is just that Western women are incorrectly viewed as sluts in some of these countries. It is assumed that they have been having sex since 13 or something. And, it is viewed because of women's rights/freedom.

I guess they don't want their girls to become another Paris Hilton or Linsdey Lohan.

Jul. 13 2010 12:29 PM
Stephanie from Jersey City

I think the reputation of islamic countries as oppressive has more to do with arab culture than islam itself. That explains why the most vibrant islamic women's movement is in Indonesia.

Jul. 13 2010 12:26 PM
The Truth from Becky

Change, good or bad is can't stop progress. Well maybe in some small counties in Georgia, but otherwise no.

Jul. 13 2010 12:21 PM

It should be noted that if the ultra-religious right in many Christian countries or the ultra-religious right in Israel had their way, women's conditions would be much the same as described in some Islamic countries.

Strictly speaking, there is _no_ separation of church and state in Israel. And in practice the extreme religious right has been gaining more power consistently for 20 years.

Jul. 13 2010 12:19 PM

How much is the opposition towards women's rights has more to do with fear of seeing women dressed scantily and being sexually active w/o marriage.

Is more about not wanting to see women in mini skirts and bikinis or revealing clothes.

Jul. 13 2010 12:11 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.