How we miss the point of International Women’s Day–and how to get it right.

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International Women's Day poster (1914)

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International Women's Day poster (1914)

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Commitment to International Women’s Day is intertwined with struggles against sexism, racism, colonialism, homophobia, classism, able-ism, and Islamophobia. It’s not about your individual preferences and friendships. It is about the institutions, infrastructure, and systems that prevent some of us from achieving the fullness of our human potential.

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  • David

    Does it go without saying that religion is an “institution, infrastructure, and system that prevents some of us from reaching our full potential”? Or are all religions objectively good ideologies criminally misused to further racism, classism, sexism etc., completely contrary to their revelators’ intentions?
    I just wonder, what Professor Safi would say to a person who believed, in regards to international women’s day and oppressive institutions, that Islam is a far bigger problem then islamophobia, Christianity a far bigger problem then persecution of Christians, and so on.
    More generally, it disappoints me that in the Western religious studies academy there seems to be such unwillingness to engage with the idea that religions (especially the larger ones) can be validly interpreted to be promoting ideas we would find unjust. It’s easy to say that we should fight sexism, racism etc that manifests itself under a religious label. Its easy to show that Islam, Judaism, etc. are not fundamentally sexist if we start with the premise that they are not sexist. But what do we do with all the arguments, based on scriptures/sayings/traditions/consensus and more, that have long justified these structures under a religious label? Are we just going to enforce our progressive orthodoxy on religion, because after all, Muhammad/Jesus/Buddha would never favor anything we think is unjust?
    We should at the very least be open to the idea that reasonable people can decide that all or some religions (however broadly or narrowly defined) are worth opposing as a whole, and think about how that opposition can justly manifest itself in society. Is there a way to think and say Islam is bad without being Islamophobic?


    I liked the list. Nice to follow.Well stated.