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Faith Based Perspectives on Advancing Women’s Equality: From Oppression to Empowerment

 On March 23, 2016, Marilyn Tebor Shaw, Attorney and Counselor at Law of TeborShaw Law, LLC; Walaa Horan, Co-Convener of Ithaca Welcomes Refuges; and Dr. Mimi Haddad, President of Christians for Biblical Equality came to Cornell Law School for an interfaith discussion on how their respective faiths advance women’s equality.  As the women told their respective stories, many commonalities emerged.  For example, each woman spoke about how she found the strength to advocate for gender equality by looking to the examples of strong women told in their sacred texts. Ms. Horan spoke about how the first wife of Prophet Muhammed, Khadijah, was a businesswoman and how Khadijah’s example inspired her to become a businesswoman.  Ms. Tebor Shaw and Dr. Haddad spoke about how the presence of women ministers in their respective sacred texts supports women’s equality and Ms. Tebor Shaw discussed how the Jewish faith’s tradition of questioning led to her awakening that certain practices in her synagogue discriminated against women.  After a fruitful discussion, the women agreed to continue exchanging ideas about using their faith to advance women’s equality.