Bong, Sharon A.

Dr. Sharon A. Bong is Lecturer in Women’s Studies and Creative Writing at Monash University.

Tension Between Women's Rights and Religions
2006 0-7734-5579-5
This study considers the extent to which localizing the integration of rights, cultures and religion: 1) challenges the universality and secularization of the rights discourse and practice globally; 2) bridges the disparity between the rhetoric and implementation of women’s-human rights in global and local contexts; and 3) embodies an Asian-Malaysian feminist standpoint epistemology that has the potential to reconcile the impasse of universal versus cultural relativism of rights. The narratives of 25 women and two men interviewed as faith-rights-based activists encapsulate ways of knowing and doing women’s-human rights in epitomizing what it means to radicalize rights and religion in spiritualizing politics and practicing spirituality. This study shows how critical relativism as a moral and political imperative more effectively advances and not impedes women’s rights as human rights within local and global contexts. In doing so, this study offers a solution to the impasse of universalism versus relativism of rights in the rhetoric and practice of women’s human rights. This multi-disciplinary study will be insightful to scholars in Women’s Studies, Religious Studies and Development Studies. It would also appeal to women’s human rights activists in serving as an advocacy tool in weaving rights and religions within local and global contexts.