Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Conflict Analysis & Resolution

Department

Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Neil Katz

Second Advisor

Dustin Berna

Third Advisor

Jason Campbell

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine and explore the meanings, structures and essence of the lived experience of Muslim women via an Islamic theoretical (Kalam) framework. The study's goal was to describe a detailed and comprehensive description of how Muslim women use Islam to promote gender equality and improve treatment within their daily lives. The critical importance of gleaning a better understanding of Islam and the perceived invisibility of Muslim women motivated the researcher to undertake this study.

The research study included a qualitative phenomenology research approach. Data were collected from multiple sources: observations, semi-structured individual interviews and transcriptions from participants from various and diverse geographical locations, educational levels, sects, socio-economic backgrounds, and nationalities. Inductive analysis allowed for the emergence of patterns and themes in relation to Muslim women and gender equality within Islam. An Islamic theoretical (Kalam) model provided a conceptual framework for the study, which allowed participants to discuss acquiring and/or achieving gender equality within Islam without separating their religion from their respective traditions and cultures.

Thirteen significant themes emerged from the research that helped to illustrate how Muslim women can employ Islam to promote gender equality while improving their lives. The anticipated results of this research study may also be useful in improving gender relations within Islam by serving as a roadmap to resolving conflict between Muslim women and Islamic clerics and scholars.