Lectures & Panels Muslim Women Speak: The Quest for Human Rights and Gender Justice in Islam

12:10-13:15 EDT

Wasserstein Hall, WCC 1010 (accessible to Harvard ID holders only)
Livestream at facebook.com/MusawahMovement

Musawah campaign graphic

Leading Muslim women’s rights advocates speak about their experiences in navigating the relationship between Islamic law and human rights advocacy.

Event Overview

Please join us for an interactive panel discussion with leading Muslim women’s rights advocates, who will speak about their experiences in navigating the relationship between Islamic law and human rights advocacy. We will discuss their journeys as scholars and activists working towards gender equality and justice in Muslim societies. We will hear about the opportunities and challenges of reforming both secular and religious-based laws, especially family laws, in Islamic majority and minority contexts and their groundbreaking work to further a rights-based understanding of Islamic law. We will also explore paths forward towards collective solidarity and mindful action for gender equality and justice.


Zainah Anwar

Zainah Anwar head shotZainah Anwar is a leading Malaysian feminist and women’s rights activist. She has co-founded two ground-breaking women’s groups that engage with Islam from a rights perspective to promote equality and justice for women living in Muslim contexts. Zainah Anwar is co-founder of Sisters in Islam (SIS) in Malaysia, which she led from 1999-2008. She also co-founded Musawah, the global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family, which was launched in Kuala Lumpur in 2009, and served as its founding Executive Director until 2021. She currently serves on the Musawah Board.

Hyshyama Hamin

Hyshyama Hamin head shotHyshyama Hamin is the campaign manager for the Global Campaign for Equality in Family Law at Equality Now, where she works with a broad range of stakeholders, including UN agencies, policymakers, NGOs, and networks of local civil society groups in target countries to advocate for family law reform. She is also an activist and researcher on Muslim family law reform in her home country Sri Lanka, where she co-founded the Muslim Personal Law Reform Action Group to advocate for reform of the discriminatory Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act and family court system. 

Fer Ghanaa Ansari

Fer Ghana Ansari head shotFer Ghanaa Ansari is a lawyer working in the field of international human rights law, gender equality, and Muslim family law reform. She completed her LL.M. from Harvard Law School in January 2022 on the Fulbright scholarship and now works as an International Advocacy Programme Officer at Musawah. She worked previously at the Research Society of International Law and the NDU Center for International Law as a Research Associate. Her areas of interest include human rights law, gender equality, and constitutional law.

Marwa Sharafeldin (Moderator)

Marwa Sharafeldin speaking at podiumMarwa Sharafeldin is a scholar activist based in Egypt. Her work lies in the intersection between Islamic law, international human rights law and feminist activism in the Muslim world. She co-founded and served on the Executive and Advisory Boards of several international, regional, and national feminist organizations such as Musawah, the Young Arab Feminist Network, and the Network for Women’s Rights Organisations in Egypt. She is also a UN gender technical expert.

Lunch will be served.  

Livestream available at facebook.com/MusawahMovement

Organized by the Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World at Harvard Law School and co-sponsored by International Human Rights Clinic, the Human Rights Program, HLS Advocates for Human Rights, Musawah, and Equality Now.