Chapter 20: Gender justice and religious freedom in the post-secular age
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The end of the twentieth century saw a call for multiculturalist policies, in the form of accommodating minority religions. This inspired a backlash, in which some feminist theorists raised the concern that granting religions special rights would hurt women’s equality. Contemporary scholarship shows that, while these tensions can by and large be navigated by legal systems, notions of secularism and gender equality are often used to assert Western cultural superiority. Moreover, the past two decades have seen an increasing backlash from the growing political influence of majority religious actors, as well as a surge of religious conservatism and fundamentalism around the world. Today, the backlash against women’s equality results primarily from the weaponization of majority religions within legal systems to reassert traditional gender roles.

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