Business: A powerful force for
interfaith understanding & peace

E-NEWS ACTION DONATE

Religious Freedom Empowers Women

15 May, 2016

SDG5-genderReligion is often seen as a barrier to gender parity. Stories abound of gender-based violence done in the name of religion. As a result, in many cases, the issues of religion and gender parity are often dismissed as too complicated to address. There appears to be no way to unwind this rather complex multi-institution.

In a World Economic Forum Agenda article, Brian Grim, President, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, and Jo-Ann Lyon, General Superintendent, Wesleyan Church, explore how religious freedom contributes directly to women’s empowerment.

They observe that a critical factor overlooked in this conversation about gender empowerment is religious freedom. Unless there is religious freedom, minority groups, including women, will not be at the table and their vital, productive and creative voices will not be heard. Corporations and economies will suffer if they miss out on the contribution of women. The denial of religious freedom contributes to gender inequality throughout the world.

Extremist ideologies such as ISIS represent the complete loss of religious freedom, and when respect for a diversity of religious beliefs and practices disappears, gender equality suffers. Read full text.


The Data: Gender Inequality Higher When Restrictions on Religious Freedom Are Higher

An analysis of data by the Weekly Number shows that the denial of religious freedom contributes to gender inequality throughout the world. Extremist ideologies such as IS represent the complete loss of religious freedom, and when respect for a diversity of religious beliefs and practices disappears, gender inequality is often a result.

Chart 1: Looking at Four Largest Countries in Each World Region

Gender-chart-1

Chart 2: Looking at 25 Countries with Highest Religious Restrictions

Gender-chart-2