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The Power of the Purse: Muslim Women’s Legacy of Economic Empowerment

On March 20th, KARAMAH hosted a parallel session at the United Nations 61st Commission on the Status of Women in New York City. The topic was “The Power of the Purse: Muslim Women’s Legacy of Economic Empowerment.” KARAMAH’s panel featured board members Sister Aisha al-Adawiya and Abed Awad, LLSP alumna Fatima Salaam, and KARAMAH executive director Aisha Rahman.

KARAMAH’s presentation focused on the historical legacy of Muslim women’s empowerment. Scholar and expert in Islamic family law, Mr. Awad began the event by exploring how Islam gave women legal agency in a tribal society. He discussed how Islam’s position on Muslim women’s economic rights was revolutionary, and he provided numerous examples of Muslim women leaders who lived in medieval times. Mr. Awad regaled the audience with story after story of Muslim women who were scholars, business women, teachers, and activists. These women’s stories are included in an anthology of important Muslim figures in history called “Al Sikhawi:The shining light for those who lived in 9th century.” After Mr. Awad, Ms. Rahman spoke to the attendees about KARAMAH’s mission of research based educational programs. Her talk focused on Muslim women’s economic rights at marriage and divorce and rights to inheritance. Ms. Rahman also invited Muslim women to apply to KARAMAH’s Law and Leadership Summer Program, where KARAMAH explores these rights and others while also teaching women leadership and conflict resolution skills. Lastly, KARAMAH featured LLSP alumna Fatima Salaam who has dedicated her life to women’s economic empowerment through her entrepreneurship. Ms. Salaam spoke about her own experience with economic empowerment in an Islamic context and how she works to provide other women with the same training and skills through her company, Go Women Global. Following the prepared remarks, Sr. Aisha opened the room up to questions and facilitated a conversation on KARAMAH’s work towards empowering women both domestically and abroad.

To view the event, please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2S_GRaMt0Qk&feature=youtu.be