A re-shaping of gender activism in a Muslim context

Date: July 29, 2011
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Patriarchal power and male privilege are prevalent in Senegal, with strong alliances between the political and religious elite The women’s movement is characterised by its determination and activism, as discriminatory customary norms such as female circumcision and violence against women are still widespread The situation IS exacerbated by malecentred nterpretations of religious precepts in this predominantly Muslim country The Family Code, which came into force in 1973, strengthened the legal position of women to a limited extent As a result of the efforts of the feminist group, Yewwu-Yewwi. additional reforms were introduced However, feminist successes in Senegal have proven to be limited and the objectives of gender activism are therefore being continually revised At present the battle for women’s rights is being spearheaded by women’s associations such as the Reseau Siggel Djigeen, which are firmly rooted in this West African socio-cultural and religious milieu and guided by the principles of African-Islamic womanism The Reseau Siggel Djigeen focuses on challenging gender inequities by reaching out to women in all sectors of society to try to effectively tackle cultural and religious doctrines which subjugate women and impede formulation of new reforms and implementation of existing ones.

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