Is Islam or a Muslim Identity Compatible With Feminism? And More Feminist News


Islam and Feminism

Here’s How I Found My Way to Feminism is a wonderful, thoughtful essay/post on the #MuslimGirl blog. Is a Muslim identity compatible with feminism philosophically? It is a roadmap to how the author connected her Muslim identity with feminism, written by a blogger who goes by the handle Kawtherinuwa. She writes: “the Qur’an not only highlights spiritual equality between the sexes, but it also reiterates the significance of affording women their elementary, intrinsic rights. Many a time, words from the Qur’an are misconstrued by both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. This has served to instigate countless debates on various topics, one of which is gender equality. Thus, I feel the need to stress that the Qur’an does not state that one gender is superior to the other, but rather the only way one can be seen as superior over another individual is through spirituality and morality.”

Vermont: Best State in America for Gender Equality

For the third year in a row, the great state of Vermont topped the list of American states with regards to gender equality. While there is, of course, work to do—Vermont's Bloomberg Equality Score was 86.4%—the Green Mountain state scored quite high in the list's five categories: pay ratio by gender, female labor force participation, college degree attainment, health coverage and women in poverty. Other metrics involved in the Equality Score include: healthcare coverage and poverty level for the female population, as well as median pay info by gender and college degree attainment.

Lucy Townsend of The Middlebury Campus ascribes a lot of this to the Vermont legislature, which is composed of a larger percentage of women than other states and is particularly attuned to issues of gender equality. “According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Vermont’s legislature is 39.4 percent female compared to 28.7 percent nationwide,” Townsend notes. “Vermont boasts 71 female members to 109 male members. The legislature recently passed a bill requiring employers to pay sick leave, and is considering a bill allowing paternity leave—two pieces of legislation that are aimed at increasing gender equality.” Other states that did well include: Minnesota (#2), Maryland (#3), Hawaii (#4) and Massachusetts (#5). The five worst states on the list are: Idaho (#46), Oklahoma (#47), Louisiana (#48), Alabama (#49) and—at the bottom—Mississippi (#50).

Japan: Six Women Won Elections to Mayoralties

In this year’s quadrennial unified local elections in Japan, six women—a record—just won elections to Mayoralties. "There were mayoral elections in 59 cities (including three prefectural capitals, Mito in Ibaraki Prefecture, Nagasaki and Oita), 11 of the 23 special wards in Tokyo, and 66 towns and villages,” says the Japan Times. “Additionally, there were municipal assembly elections in 294 cities, 20 Tokyo wards, and 282 towns and villages. Of the six women, two incumbents—Yukari Kaneko, 60, mayor of the city of Suwa in Nagano Prefecture, and Noriko Suematsu, 48, mayor of the city of Suzuka in Mie Prefecture—secured their second and third terms, respectively, because no challengers had come forward by April 14 when the elections were announced, so they won by default.” The previous record number of women elected to Mayoralties in japan was four in 2015.

Environmental Protection and Gender Equality

Is there linkage between Earth Day—which is being celebrated this week—and gender equality? Women have often been seen at the forefront of environmental protection movements at home and abroad. “Women are tackling the planet’s most formidable challenges—such as protecting wildlife that are impacted by the planet’s sixth mass extinction and attacking how to mitigate the impacts of climate change, which is one of the single greatest threat to biodiversity. We are devoted to defeating the egregious, irreparable impacts that President Trump's proposed border wall will have on nature, while protecting our national wildlife refuges and national monuments that are under siege,” writes Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife, in The Hill.

Organized Labor and Women

Women have been at the forefront of organized labor since long before Norma Rae, but have not gotten that many accolades. Unions themselves in their appeal to social justice for workers concern themselves with feminism, but the image of a labor organizer is almost always that of a man. “In fact, women—and particularly women of color—remain on the front lines of worker-organizing in a variety of industries, including those our patriarchal society has long coded as ‘women’s work,’” labor organizer Kim Kelly writes in the Washington Post. “Workers in a slew of traditionally feminized labor sectors—from education and domestic work to food service and sex work—have driven some of the movement’s most important victories. That is critically important both because they now make up the majority of the working class and because their involvement is helping to reshape the priorities of organized labor." Unfortunately we live in an age of declining union membership.

Cover via Metro