Challenges to Muslim Women Are Challenges to All Muslims
Economic, Social and Political
Do you know that there are 800 million Muslim women in the world?
The 3 primary challenges Muslim women face include:

1: Lack of Economic Empowerment

Two Facts:

  • Muslim countries represent 25% of the world’s population, yet their GDP is 11.7% – about half of what it should be.
  • The 13.3% disparity between the global Muslim population of 25% and actual GDP from Islamic countries (11.7%) is largely due to inequality and the lack of women’s participation in Islamic economies.

Labor Force Participation shows that only two of the selected Muslim Countries, i.e Bangladesh and Indonesia, have more than 50% of their females actively contributing to the work force.

2: Lack of Education

Percentages of females ages 15 and above who can read and write in selected Muslim countries is above 50 percent, except in Afghanistan and Pakistan where social and cultural restrictions still don’t allow girls to get an education.

3: Lack of Political Empowerment

Political participation rates, as measured by women in parliament, are driven by quotas in South Asia, but otherwise lag.

  • Limiting political participation in parliament dis-empowers Muslim women.
  • It denies or inhibits their voice and vote.
  • It robs them of their place and status at home and in the community.
Faith vs. Culture: local culture often trumps faith in Muslim communities
Embedded in many Muslim societies are egregious social issues – patriarchy, misogyny, rampant domestic violence, minimal human rights for women, preference for sons over daughters, female genital mutilation – among others.

Women are often the most affected by these cultural constraints and this directly translates into less opportunity and hence less empowerment for women in most Muslim societies. This overview of the cross section of Muslim countries with significant populations illustrates how poorly women are represented economically.