GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Working with Patriarchy: Strategies for Women’s Empowerment in Latin America and the Arab Gulf
Paper Proposal Text :
What important roles are women playing in the middle of extreme social change and political upheaval in the traditional and religious societies of the Arab Gulf? In what ways does women’s involvement in public leadership compare with activism of women in the traditional and religious societies of Latin America? Through academic scholarship and original fieldwork, the author discusses a number of common points of interest between women in leadership in the Arab Gulf and Latin America:

• How women activists set goals and approach the issue of women’s rights differently by country in the Gulf;
• How relevant the term “feminism” is to an indigenous women’s rights movement in the Gulf as compared to a Latin American experience;
• Lessons learned from Islamic feminist movements about the principles for women’s empowerment from within traditional Muslim societies and cultures that compare with lessons from the Latin American experience;
• Practical points of cooperation and exchange between women leaders in Latin America and the Gulf (including cultural, educational, and business partnerships);
• Assessing the influence of local governments, international agencies, and NGOs on women’s rights in traditional and religious societies;
• Addressing the role that men play in facilitating women’s rights both in Latin America and the Arab Gulf.

This paper highlights findings from a study of 35 original interviews of men and women in Kuwait and Qatar on the future of women’s political activism, and the relationship religious and political affiliation have in creating a balance for women’s progressive rights within traditional and religious cultures. In addition, the paper highlights the differences and commonalities of women in business and political leadership in Latin America, and emphasizes the importance of continued comparisons between Latin America and the Arab Gulf to encounter alternative negotiation strategies for the empowerment of women and other traditionally marginalized populations.

Brief Bio: Dr. González is a non-resident fellow at the Institute for the Studies of religion at Baylor University in central Texas. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in Sociology from Baylor University and received a B.A. in Sociology and Policy Studies from Rice University. She is the principal investigator of the Islamic Social Attitudes Survey Project (ISAS), a study in conjunction with Baylor's Institute for the Studies of Religion (ISR) on Islamic Religiosity and Social Attitudes, including Women's Rights Attitudes in the Arab Gulf Region. She has a forthcoming book chapter in Women’s Encounter with Globalization (Frontpage Publications), a publication in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, a forthcoming publication in the Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion, and an op-ed on Islamic Feminism in the Dallas Morning News. Her manuscript of a book on Islamic Feminism on the Arabian Peninsula is currently under review for publication. She has presented her research at the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy's 2007 Conference on "The Rights of Women in Islam," the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies, the Dialogue of Civilizations Conference hosted by the Institute for Interfaith Dialogue in Houston, the Gulf Research Conference at the University of Exeter, and various other academic settings.