Five women have served as leaders of Muslim countries, namely Megawati Sukarnoputri (Vice President of Indonesia, 1991-2001 and President 2002-4), Benazir Bhutto (PM of Pakistan, 1988-90 and 1993-6), Sheikh Hasina (PM of Bangladesh, 1996-2001), Khaleda Zia (PM of Bangladesh, 1991-5 and 2001-6) and Tansu Ciller (PM of Turkey, 1993-6). This is an extraordinary record and somewhat of a challenge to the widespread perception that Muslim women are oppressed. Four of the women belonged to political families by birth or marriage, raising interesting questions about the extent to which this played a role alongside their skills and personal qualities in their rise to power. To what degree did culture rather than Islam aid and abet their roles, or indeed is it sustainable to distinguish Islam from culture. This study of the role of these five powerful Muslim women uses their life and work to explore relevant issues, such as the role of culture, gender in Islam and the nature of the Islamic state.
Publisher: Continuum Publishing Corporation
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 475 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 19 mm
'This is a book I would have wanted to write myself ... The question of Muslim women leaders' impacting the lives of ordinary women is an undeniable fact, although the world stage remains dominated by men. These women have inspired a generation of women not to give up, even when facing the strongest prejudice long held in western society, the backlash of Islamaphobia, as well as the rise of the extreme Right and zealots. We have much to learn in the West from these women leaders about mobilisation of women in countries where the primary duties and obligation for women are to survive the degradation of poverty and need for survival. We can and must judge their leadership in the context of their political and social achievements. Having been in politics in the west and seeing first hand the level of prejudice and discrimination at the heart of mother of democracy, I salute these amazing leaders.' - Pola Manzila Uddin, House of Lords, UK
Bennett is to be congratulated for his painstaking research. This book must be high on the reading list of everyone who wishes to understand the Islamic position on women.--Sanford Lakoff