Gender equality or gender equity? A critique of CEDAW from Shari’ah perspective
Keywords:Feminist movement, Gender equality, CEDAW, Shari’ah, Gender equity
Women activism and the feminist movement generally emerged as a reaction to the unfair and unjust treatment of womenfolk in the medieval era. This feminist movement, being a challenge to the status quo ante, left no stone unturned in its effort to actualizing equality between the two sexes. The feminists have succeeded, among others, in bringing about a legally binding international treaty as Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). This paper examines the provisions of CEDAW vis-a-vis the position of Shari’ah and argues that gender equality in its raw sense as encapsulated by the CEDAW is another form of injustice against the womenfolk. It argues that since the biological make up, physiological construct and psychological needs of the two sexes differ, the role each sex plays should be different albeit complimentary to that of the other, if cohesion and stability is to be attained in society. Using doctrinal and comparative methods of analysis, this study arrives at the conclusion that gender equity as provided by Shari’ah rather than gender equality as encapsulated by the CEDAW best serves the interests of womenfolk. It is equally the finding of this study that the provisions of Shari’ah on gender issues stand tall among all other legal systems as they aim at achieving the most needed equity among the two sexes.