From breaking barriers to shattering stereotypes, women have been at the forefront of change. This year’s theme for International Women’s Day, “inspire inclusion,” urges us to actively and relentlessly appreciate and value our achievements to forge a better world where we are all heard and seen! At the same time, it is an acknowledgment of how long and muddy the journey has been and still is. This journey unites us all, no matter where we are and who we are, this thread of “common difference” runs through our lives.  

With this common difference comes a common key strategy: resistance, each in their own way and voice! This resistance informs our solidarity in the same way solidarity informs back our resistance.  As a main strategy “learning from other resisters” allows us to build a deeper understanding of who we are, what we went through and how we can make this world a better inclusive one that claims us every day.  

Sometimes, when we speak about solidarity, allyship and resistance, our actions are automatically put under the umbrella of ‘activism’. This activism is further judged based on its “legitimacy”, something that is still, for so many reasons, “negotiated” after years and years of struggle! A scary thought that is.  

We are not only aware of skewed knowledge production dynamics, marginalisation of certain experiences and voices from the mainstream (and within the feminist movement itself), and strategic exclusions, but also working towards changing the status quo every day. In this, a spectrum of feminisms exist. ‘Feminisms’ is a shorthand for support for women’s issues – a pluralistic perspective that appreciates and accommodates differences within, yet highlights commonalities to move towards belonging and inclusion. 

My research looks at one strand called Islamic feminism(s) as a movement.  It considers a constellation of activists who aim to advance Muslim women’s issues by bringing their different social, political, historical subjectivities into view. Women are playing key roles in shaping their knowledges, practices, and identities. Islamic feminisms unleash new possibilities for Muslim women to actively elaborate their efforts from within an Islamic paradigm, accounting for their subjectivities and claiming their rights in informing policies and text interpretation based on their lived experiences and realities. The effort of the Islamic feminists is being sought on both the internal and external levels; internally by rethinking Islam and purifying it from cultural residuals and externally by finding their niches and raising their voice in public debates. 

Finally, I cannot but think of women in war and conflict at the moment and the daily violence they endure. I hope that during these times, we can recognise and acknowledge their daily achievements and by this we reframe what achievement might mean for these women. 

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