The introduction to this IDS Bulletin captures why this is the moment for re-engaging with the politics of gender and religion in a securitised post-9/11 context in which ‘Muslim communities’ have emerged as a political category in their own right.
The article traces and exposes how religion has been deployed by international actors, donors, states, feminists, development practitioners, and human rights activists in engaging with gender issues.
It analyses both the underlying motives for promoting a ‘religionised’ form of engagement with gender issues by these actors and how it is reflected in their policy and practice. It argues that various forms of instrumentalisation of religion, gender and human rights need to be examined against the backdrop of volatile political context, the rise of identity politics and increased economic inequality and deprivation. In particular, the article questions what an instrumentalised approach to religion means for negotiating the terms of engagement for addressing women’s rights as well as how it impacts their day to day realities.