Isobel Coleman, Women, Islam, and the Push for Reform in the Muslim World, The Solutions Journal, Volume 2, Issue 2, March 2011, Pages 42-51 ( Abstract: Across the Islamic world, women’s rights are contentious politically and ideologically. Attitudes toward women have defined and divided the worldviews of conservative and progressive Muslims. Conservatives link women’s piety to the purity and Islamic authenticity of their societies. They use religious justifications to enforce that piety through a limited public role for women, gender segregation, and harsh punishments for any perceived transgressions. For decades, powerful Islamists have successfully smeared women’s groups as being slavish followers of an illegitimate, Western agenda. In this toxic environment, it is clear that women’s empowerment will not be imposed from outside. Men and women within conservative Islamic communities need to find their own reasons and their own justifications for allowing women a fuller role in society. Increasingly, they are finding those reasons within Islam itself. This article describes how those efforts are coming together, … Topics: Education; Inequality; Religion; Women