FORB and Gender Equality – Enemies or Allies?

Illustration of four flags, showing love, equality and genders, supporting a flag that says FORB.Illustration of four flags, showing love, equality and genders, supporting a flag that says FORB.

Why take the course?

Are freedom of religion or belief and gender equality really enemies, as some portray them, or could they actually be allies in striving for a common cause?

There are many misunderstandings about FORB. Sometimes, groups working for women’s rights have regarded FORB as a right for men, in particular male religious leaderships, failing to recognise that the right is fundamental for every woman. Women’s experiences of FORB violations are often less visible, as women more commonly face violations in the home and the faith community as well as the public sphere. As a result, organisations working with FORB have sometimes failed to integrate gender specific strategies in their promotion of FORB.

This course explores the topics, clarifying concepts, exploring linkages, synergies and conflicts, taking a deeper look at FORB and religious family law and providing suggestions on ways of working for change.

The course will help you understand women’s experiences of FORB better and provide you with tools to help you factor FORB into work for gender and gender into work for FORB.

Freedom of Religion or Belief and Gender - Enemies or allies - Illustration of a woman and religious symbols, with a double-headed arrow in-between

Illustration: a woman giving a presentation. Illustrator: Toby NewsomeIllustration: a woman giving a presentation. Illustrator: Toby Newsome

We used ‘FORB and gender – enemies or allies’ as part of an inhouse training process for staff members working on gender issues. It was really valuable.

Virginia Manzitti

EU Directorate General for International Partnerships

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