In his second lecture, Prof. Fadel talked about female agency In Islam. He asserted that everything that applies to men also applies to women. Both genders are subject to the obligations of Islam. In absence of explicit proof that women cannot do certain things, then we have to accept that women are not subject to extra limitations, but are only subject to the same rules that govern men.
In the age of constitutional democracy, we are free to exercise power given to us by law, so that gender differences should not control who gets to exercise it. And yet, Muslim women are often confined at home because of the misguided belief that women’s first duty relates to the care of the family.
According to Prof. Fadel, Islam does not only say that women have the capacity to be good citizens on top of being good wives and mothers. Fulfilling our duties as citizens is necessary for our moral well-being, and because women deserve the opportunity to perfect themselves as much as men do, they have an obligation to be good citizens as well. Feminism does not put Muslim women in a bind – it is possible for a woman to be both a good Muslim and a good citizen.
In this lecture about female agency, Prof. Fadel explained that Islam does not require women to carry out certain duties, nor does it limit women from holding public office. Our LLSP participants, who were already leaders in their own capacities, now also know that they have a duty to lead and improve themselves through civic responsibilities.