DIIS Reports / Danish Institute for International Studies 2012:02
Islamic women's activism may appear a contradiction in terms to many Western audiences accustomed to presentations of Islam as counterproductive to the promotion of women's empowerment and the situation of women more generally. Yet in the Arab world (and beyond) many different groups and individuals - as scholars, as charity and welfare providers, and as religious or political activists - work to empower women based on Islamic arguments and references. Islamic women's activism is an important complement to traditional liberal/secular women's activism, not least because in many cases it enjoys a wider local legitimacy. Accordingly, Islamic women's activists also constitute potentially important future partners for external actors (bilateral and multilateral aid agencies, women's organisations etc.) working to contribute to Arab women's empowerment, participation, agency and authority.