Female interfaith initiatives: empowering women, facilitating peace? Exploring female interfaith initiatives’ untapped potential for creating a ‘culture of peace’
This thesis explores female interfaith initiatives’ as agents of change for achieving a more inclusive and sustainable peace. It argues that female interfaith initiatives carry an untapped, transformational potential in terms of facilitating inclusive and sustainable peace. Building on the nexus between religion, women, interfaith dialogue and peace this work investigates “How female interfaith initiatives actively work towards a ‘culture of peace’ by advocating for gender equality?”. To explore this research question, the focus is on the Global Women of Faith Network (GWFN) and seven complementary female interfaith initiatives working at various levels in different countries. Through qualitative methods a mapping exercise of the respective female interfaith initiatives was performed. Identifying a mutual influence between the initiatives on the global level with female interfaith initiatives operating at the local level, Israel is chosen as a case study. Interviews with female interfaith initiatives allow an analysis of their commitment to a “culture of peace” and inform on the extent they address several dimensions of the unequal status of women. Empirical evidence suggests that female interfaith initiatives use interfaith dialogue and religion as tools to build peace and bridges between faith communities, thus reaching out to an untapped potential of peace efforts.