Answer fully the questions below. Essay should be typed and double-spaced. You should reference the texts, assigned readings, and whenever appropriate, and may use any
other resources you like. All work must be your own. Plagiarism is the Ultimate Sin, so be sure to attribute any ideas you borrow; any accepted citation style is
permissible. (Should you wish to cite something said in class, a simple in class we discussed, or something similar, is sufficient.)
As noted, I am not looking for a right or wrong answer here; rather, better or worse. Write enough to demonstrate that you understand and have thought carefully about
the issues raised.
Sarah L. Henderson and Alana S. Jeydel, Women and Politics in a Global World (3rd Edition)
1. Consider the following situations (none of which are hypothetical):
Consistent with the principle of complete separation of church and state, the French government passes a law banning students in public schools from wearing religious
apparel, including hijab for Muslim girls (a French legislator says that the veil symbolizes the subordination of Muslim women and therefore is unacceptable in
France). Traditional Muslim culture in Afghanistan generally forbids women from working for a living and provides that (since her husband must provide for her) a
womans inheritance shall be only half that of her brothers. A fundamentalist LDS family files a lawsuit challenging Canadas ban on polygyny, which they say that their
religion demands. Against her wishes, a Dalit family in India removes their daughter from school after her second menses and prepares her for an arranged marriage. A
tribal court in rural Pakistan orders a woman to be publicly gang-raped after her brother is accused of having an affair with another village woman. A Jordanian man,
with his familys approval, stabs his younger sister 27 times and slits her throat after she went on an unsupervised outing with a boy, thereby besmirching the familys
The common point in each of these cases is a clash between cultural and/or religious norms and internationally recognized womens rights. Address the following
questions: When womens rights, individually and/or collectively, conflict with a societys cultural and/or religious beliefs, which takes precedence? Under what
conditions? Can and should cultural practices be separated from religious ones in regards to womens rights? What womens rights can be regarded as universal, if any?
What general principles can you devise to deal with such conflicts? In your answer, keep in mind the importance of religion/culture to a society and the provisions of
documents such as the UNUDHR and the CEDAW.
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