Working Paper
Gender, Islam, and law

This paper considers arguments about Islam and women’s welfare, and, at greater length, how legal systems with Islamic elements treat women, with a focus on how women fare in Islamic family courts.

Key methodological issues include how to focus on real-world views and practices rather than only texts, disentangle the effects of patriarchal regional cultures from the effects of Islamic law, and compare the gendered effects of Islamic court practices with the most probable local alternatives.

We look in greater detail at three countries—Tunisia, Indonesia, and Iran—to detect probable mechanisms shaping women’s access to divorce and to property.