Religion, Politics and Gender Equality

This is an archived article

April 8, 2009

Conference: Religion Revisited - Women’s Rights and the Political Instrumentalisation of Religion

June 5 - 6, 2009, in Berlin

Religions worldwide still affect state structures and public opinion. Strict separation of religion, on the one hand, and the state, politics and civil society, on the other, exists in only a minority of countries. For women and their right to equality, there is much at stake in how religion and politics intertwine.

The Heinrich Boell Foundation has invited scholars and feminist activists from Germany, India, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, UK, and the U.S. to discuss the question of how to deal with religions in the fight for women’s rights and gender equality.

The conference is part of the research project "Religion, Politics and Gender Equality", conducted by the Heinrich Böll Foundation in collaboration with the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD).


UNRISD is an autonomous agency engaging in multidisciplinary research on the social dimensions of contemporary problems affecting development. Its work is guided by the conviction that, for effective development policies to be formulated, an understanding of the social and political context is crucial. The Institute attempts to provide governments, development agencies, grassroots organizations and scholars with a better understanding of how development policies and processes of economic, social and environmental change affect different social groups. Working through an extensive network of national research centres, UNRISD aims to promote original research and strengthen research capacity in developing countries.

About the Research Project

Religion continues to have a public dimension throughout the world, and from the point of view of women’s rights to equality, there is much at stake in how religion and politics intertwine. Therefore, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, in close cooperation with UNRISD, has launched an extensive research project which explores the effects of this blending of religion and politics on women’s rights and gender equality. It includes case studies from 11 countries: Chile, India, Iran, Israel, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Serbia, Turkey, USA.