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Canadian Muslim Women Culture, Identity, and Struggle for Social Justice

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Pro-faith organization with close to 1,000 members across Canada ... third less likely to vote than the Hindus and Sikhs, with whom they share some ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Canadian Muslim Women Culture, Identity, and Struggle for Social Justice


1
Canadian Muslim Women Culture, Identity, and
Struggle for Social Justice
  • OSCE
  • Human Dimension Implementation Meeting
  • Side Event
  • September 27, 2005

2
Agenda
  • About CCMW
  • Activities and Projects
  • Three-year Strategic Plan
  • Data Reports Fact Sheets
  • Partnerships, Coalition-building and Political
    Action
  • Next Steps

3
Canadian Council of Muslim Women
  • Founded in 1982
  • Pro-faith organization with close to 1,000
    members across Canada
  • The Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW) is a
    national non-profit organization of believing
    women committed to the equality, equity and
    empowerment of Muslim women. CCMW promotes Muslim
    women's identity in the Canadian context and
    encourages mutual understanding between Canadian
    Muslim women and women of other faiths.

4
Guiding Principles
  • We invite Muslim women to join us in achieving
    our common goals.
  • We are guided by the Quranic message of God's
    mercy and justice, and of the equality of all
    persons, and that each person is directly
    answerable to God.
  • We value a pluralistic society and foster the
    goal of strength and diversity within a unifying
    vision and values of Canada. Our identity of
    being Muslim women of diverse ethnicity and race
    is integral to being Canadian.  
  • As Canadians we abide by the Charter of Rights
    and Freedoms and the law of Canada.  
  • We believe in the universality of human rights,
    which means equality and social justice, with no
    restrictions or discrimination based on gender or
    race.  
  • We are vigilant in safeguarding, enhancing our
    identity, and our rights to make informed choices
    amongst a variety of options.  
  • We acknowledge that CCMW is one voice amongst
    many who speak on behalf of Muslim women and that
    there are others who may represent differing
    perspectives.  
  • We aim to be actively inclusive and accepting of
    diversity among ourselves, as Muslim women.

5
Objectives
  • To attain and maintain equality, equity, and
    empowerment for all Canadian Muslim women.  
  • To promote Muslim women's identity in the
    Canadian context.  
  • To assist Muslim women to gain an understanding
    of their rights, responsibilities, and roles in
    Canadian society.  
  • To promote and encourage rapprochement and
    interfaith dialogue between Muslims and other
    faith communities.  
  • To contribute to Canadian society the knowledge,
    life experiences and ideas of Muslim women for
    the benefit of all.  
  • To strengthen the bonds of sisterhood among the
    Muslim communities and among Muslim individuals.
     
  • To stimulate Islamic thinking and action among
    Muslim women in the Canadian setting.  
  • To acknowledge and respect the cultural
    differences among Canadian Muslim women and to
    recognize and develop our common cultural
    heritage.  
  • To promote a better understanding of Islam and
    the Islamic way of life in the North American
    setting.  
  • To represent Canadian Muslim women at national
    and international forums.  
  • To encourage the organization and coordination of
    Muslim women's organizations across Canada.

6
Activities Projects
  • Variety of activities and projects over the years
    depending on issues and priorities
  • Conferences and workshops
  • Research and publications
  • Collaboration with equality seeking organizations
  • In My Skin Resource Kit
  • Voices of Women post 9/11 focus groups and report

7
Activities Projects
  • From the 3-year Strategic Plan
  • Increase integration/participation of Muslim
    women so that they can be effective agents of
    change in society
  • Held Forum in Montreal Engaging Muslim Women in
    Civic and Social Change in Oct. 03

8
Activities Projects
  • From the 3-year Strategic Plan
  • Build capacity to increase effectiveness/visibilit
    y provide a voice for Muslim women
  • Holding regional meetings to build capacity at
    the local level
  • Recruited Executive Director/Admin. Assistant
  • Increased use of technology significant
    increase in visits to the web site created list
    serve

9
Activities Projects
  • From the 3-year Strategic Plan
  • Assess Muslim womens needs and assess increased
    participation/presence in the community, e.g. in
    politics, community orgs., educational
    institutions, and business, etc.
  • Civic participation survey conducted in Oct. 03
    to form baseline
  • Statistics Canada data analyzed reports
    released
  • Needs assessment survey questionnaire and focus
    groups to be launched this fall

10
Activities Projects
  • From the 3-year Strategic Plan
  • Produce media/communications products to foster a
    positive awareness of Muslim women as active
    participants in Canadian society
  • Board members participated in training, At Ease
    with the Media learning to be shared at the
    regional meetings
  • Workshop held at the forum on preparing a media
    kit
  • Media Relations Handbook updated used for
    training chapters at regional meetings

11
Activities Projects
  • From the 3-year Strategic Plan
  • Foster greater understanding of issues faced by
    Muslim women
  • Research/write Fact Sheets on
  • Data Facts about Muslim women in Canada
  • Political Participation of Muslim Women in Canada
  • Bias and Discrimination Against Muslim Women
  • Position papers to be published in collaboration
    with academic researchers

12
Activities Projects
  • From the 3-year Strategic Plan
  • Advocacy and collaboration with other
    organizations
  • WWIW, NCWC, NOIVMWC, Afghan Womens Organization,
    CASSA, Womens Political ConneXion, Karamah,
    etc.
  • Continue use and promotion of Resource Kit, In My
    Own Skin

13
Activities Projects
  • From the 3-year Strategic Plan
  • Data reports and fact sheets
  • Muslim Women Beyond the Perceptions
  • Triple Jeopardy Muslim Womens Experience of
    Discrimination
  • Muslim Womens Civic Participation From Polling
    Booths to Parliament

14
Muslim Women Beyond the Perceptions
  • Need for Study
  • Myths and stereotypes about Muslim women abound
  • Increased interest in Muslims and Muslim women
    post-9/11
  • Previous information based on focus groups,
    interviews, anecdotal evidence
  • Fact-based information necessary to move CCMWs
    work forward

15
Basic demographics
  • Data based on 2001 Census of Canada
  • Islam is the 2nd largest of the three Abrahamic
    faiths in Canada
  • 7th overall among six dozen faiths listed in 2001
    Census

16
Basic demographics
  • First known Muslim woman in Canada pre-dates
    Confederation
  • 2001 Census counted 579,645 Muslims 2.0 of the
    Canadian population
  • Just under one-half, 276,075 are women
  • 47.6 of Muslim women immigrated in the 1990s
  • Average age of a Muslim Canadian woman is 27
  • Almost one-quarter of Muslim Canadian women were
    born in Canada

17
Geographic concentration/dispersion
  • Largest concentration in Ontario, followed by
    Quebec, British Columbia Alberta
  • 97 of Muslim women live in 11 largest
    metropolitan areas

18
Triple Jeopardy Muslim Womens Experience of
Discrimination
  • Summary of Findings
  • Muslim women are the most discriminated of the
    faith communities for which the data are
    available. About one in three (30 per cent) of
    Muslim women reported having experienced one or
    more episodes of discrimination or unfair
    treatment. The Jewish community followed next
    with 23 per cent reporting similar experiences.
  • An overwhelming majority of Canadians in every
    region agree that Muslims are the main target of
    discrimination. 80 per cent of the Canadians
    questioned in 2004 said that Muslims encounter
    one or more incidents of discrimination or unfair
    treatment.
  • Canadians are comfortable in dealing with all
    faith and ethnic communities. However, their
    comfort levels vary depending on the community
    they are dealing with
  •          84 per cent of the Canadians would be
    comfortable with a Muslim teaching at their
    childrens school the corresponding figures for
    other communities were in the mid-90s
  •          86 per cent had no problem with a
    Muslim boss, versus 96 per cent for the Jewish
    and 97 per cent for the black
  •          61 per cent would be at ease if their
    daughter or son married a Muslim, while 83 per
    cent said the same about the Jewish and the
    black
  • However, about one in three (30 per cent)
    Canadians will not likely vote for a political
    party led by a Muslim a Jewish leader drew that
    response from 12 per cent of the respondents, and
    the blacks fared better, with only 8 per cent

19
Muslim Womens Civic Participation From
Polling Booths to Parliament
  • Summary of Findings
  • Muslims are the least likely of the faith
    communities to exercise the franchise. They are
    one-third less likely to vote than the Hindus and
    Sikhs, with whom they share some key demographic
    characteristics, and 40 less likely than the
    Jewish community, which is estimated to have the
    highest voter turnout rate.
  • Muslim women have a lower propensity to vote than
    men. Only 39 are estimated to have cast ballot
    in the 2000 federal general election, as compared
    with 45 for males. Muslim female voter turnout
    rate increased to 43 in the 2004 federal general
    election, but did not keep pace with the males
    50 of whom voted that year.
  • While a Muslim male won a seat in the Alberta
    legislature in the mid-970s, it wasnt until 1993
    that a Muslim woman contested in a federal
    election. In the 1997 and 2000 federal elections,
    there was only one Muslim female candidate
    running on the ticket of a major party.
  • The number of Muslim female candidates increased
    to four in 2004. They accounted for about 24 of
    all Muslim candidates who ran for any party,
    including the small ones, that year.
  • Muslim women contest elections as Canadians who
    identify themselves with Islam, and hold a range
    of views on economic, political and social
    issues. At the national level, they have
    represented centrist and left-of-the-centre
    parties, including the Liberal, NDP and Bloc
    Québecois.
  • While the NDP nominated three of the four Muslim
    female candidates in 2004 federal election, no
    Muslim female has ever been nominated by the
    Conservative Party or its forerunners.
  • At present, there are only two Muslim women
    serving in a provincial or federal legislature
    Fatima Huda-Pépin, member of the Québec National
    Assembly and Yasmin Ratensi, Member of Parliament
    at the federal level.

20
Partnerships, Coalition-building and Political
Action
  • Catalyst
  • Implementation of Muslim family law in Canada
  • Background
  • Response from proponents and opponents
  • Media reaction
  • CCMW position and actions

21
CCMWs Response and Actions
  • Developed position paper
  • Commissioned research in partnership with
    National Association of Women and the Law and
    National Organization of Immigrant and Visible
    Minority Women of Canada
  • Extensive media representation and coverage
    speaking engagements
  • Met with federal and provincial government
    officials/wrote to politicians

22
CCMWs Response and Actions
  • At Regional Meetings, surveyed membership
  • 78 percent of participants believed that
    implementing Muslim family law will not improve
    the lives of Canadian Muslim women
  • Launched project Muslim Womens Equality Rights
    in the Justice System Gender, Religion and
    Pluralism
  • Engaged womens organizations in discussions and
    mobilized action

23
CCMWs Response and Actions
  • Launched project Muslim Womens Equality Rights
    in the Justice System Gender, Religion and
    Pluralism to
  • Remove family matters from the Ontario
    Arbitration Act and ensure that other
    jurisdictions do not allow family matters to be
    settled using religious arbitration
  • Communicate CCMW position
  • Increase capacity of Muslim women to promote
    womens equality rights and removal of religious
    arbitration in family matters
  • Evaluate and report on progress
  • Project funded by Status of Women Canada

24
Progress to date
  • Created information kit to educate media,
    politicians, public, Muslim and non-Muslim women
  • Preparation of Muslim Canadian Family Law A
    Comparative Primer
  • Groundswell of support
  • Coalition of over 100 organizations and prominent
    Canadian women
  • Support of women from all political parties
  • Ontario Governments decision to disallow all
    faith-based arbitration

25
Next steps for CCMW
  • Needs assessment to take place this fall
  • Areas for further exploration
  • Causes of underemployment unemployment
  • Causes of under-participation in the labour
    market cultural barriers vs. systemic barriers
  • Impacts since 9/11
  • Work/life challenges choice to work vs.
    necessity
  • Impacts of a more traditional/conservative
    interpretation of Islam
  • Changing structures in Muslim families causes
    and consequences
  • Continue with project on Muslim Women in the
    Justice System

26
For more information visit our web site
at www.ccmw.com
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