Women's Rights & Religion

A report on women's rights and Christianity, Islam, and Judaism

In hopes to discover and highlight the powerful potential that religion and religious leaders have to help guarantee women’s rights around the world, this report examines current tensions that exist between women’s rights and some interpretations of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish doctrines.

This report addresses early, forced and child marriages, female genital mutilation, violence against women, ‘honour’ killing, public dress codes, and reproductive rights. Through these various facets of women’s rights, the report explores the ways in which religious texts, practices, cultural influences, and patriarchal systems influence or motivate violations of these rights.


Early, Child, and Forced Marriage & Religion

Early, child, and forced marriage are forms of gender-based violence that pose serious threats to the rights of girls and women. It is estimated globally that one in nine girls will marry before their fifteenth birthday, some as young as five years old.

A number of religious leaders and communities advocate for the marriage of children, justifying it as driven by religious texts or other religious authoritative sources.

On the other hand, religious leaders and governments in some countries are also taking more positive steps to protect the rights of girls and women who become victims of child and forced marriages.

This paper looks at the issue of early, child and forced marriage as part of the research that HRWF is conducting on the intersection of Women’s Rights and Freedom of Religion or Belief with the aim of revealing the misconceptions about the intersection of the two rights and try to find a way forward, together.


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