© 2017

Muslim Women and Power

Political and Civic Engagement in West European Societies


Part of the Gender and Politics book series (GAP)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xviii
  2. Danièle Joly, Khursheed Wadia
    Pages 1-20
  3. Concepts and Contexts

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 21-21
    2. Danièle Joly, Khursheed Wadia
      Pages 23-46
    3. Danièle Joly, Khursheed Wadia
      Pages 47-84
    4. Danièle Joly, Khursheed Wadia
      Pages 85-120
  4. Muslim Women, Politics and Action

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 121-121
    2. Danièle Joly, Khursheed Wadia
      Pages 123-162
    3. Danièle Joly, Khursheed Wadia
      Pages 163-196
    4. Danièle Joly, Khursheed Wadia
      Pages 197-229
    5. Danièle Joly, Khursheed Wadia
      Pages 231-259
  5. Danièle Joly, Khursheed Wadia
    Pages 261-272
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 273-322

About this book


This book provides an account of Muslim women’s political and civic engagement in Britain and France. It examines their interaction with civil society and state institutions to provide an understanding of their development as political actors. The authors argue that Muslim women’s participation is expressed at the intersections of the groups and society to which they belong. In Britain and France, their political attitudes and behaviour are influenced by their national/ethnic origins, religion and specific features of British and French societies. Thus three main spheres of action are identified: the ethnic group, religious group and majority society. Unequal, gendered power relations characterise the interconnection(s) between these spheres of action. Muslim women are positioned within these complex relations and find obstacles and/or facilitators governing their capacity to act politically. The authors suggest that Muslim women’s interest in politics, knowledge of it and participation in both institutional and informal politics is higher than expected. This book will appeal to students and scholars of politics, sociology, gender studies and social anthropology, and will also be of use to policy makers and practitioners in the field of gender and ethno-religious/ethno-cultural policy.


political participation British Muslims French Muslims Britain France gendered politics politics and religion political actors

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of WarwickUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.EHESS, MSHParisFrance

About the authors

Danièle Joly is Professor Emerita at the University of Warwick, UK. She is Research Associate at the Centre d’analyse et d’intervention sociologiques, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales and is attached to the Chair in Rethinking Social Justice at the Collège d’Études Mondiales, Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris.

Khursheed Wadia is Principal Research Fellow at the University of Warwick, UK. She is an Overseas Research Fellow at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales and Research Associate at the Centre Migrations et Citoyenneté, Institut Français des Relations Internationales, Paris.

Bibliographic information


“This is an important contribution to the emerging literature on Muslim women’s participation and civic engagement through a comparative study of Muslim communities in France and Britain. The authors - experienced researchers on minority communities in Europe - offer valuable insights on how Muslim women in these two countries engage with communities, society and the state. Negating stereotypical representation of ‘Muslim women’ as disengaged, apolitical and disempowered, it highlights the rich diversity of Muslim women and their multiple identities.” (Professor Shaheen Sardar Ali, University of Warwick)

“This first significant book on how Muslim women participate in western civic and political life and develop their capacity for action, examines issues concerning Muslim women and what motivates or hinders their participation. It represents impressive field research which nonetheless cannot be reduced to empiricism since the authors present a theoretical frame combining Archer and Touraine’s orientations with a feminist approach. There are innovative results - that Muslim women are not passive, male-dominated or alienated; they are subjects.” (Michel Wieviorka, Director, Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris, France)

“Khursheed Wadia and Danièle Joly present the results of a 4-year empirical research among Muslim women in France and Britain. The results reveal the level of political awareness and diverse forms of political participation that defy western perceptions of ‘the subdued Muslim woman’. This work is a welcome addition to gender studies and political science.” (Professor Jocelyne Cesari, University of Birmingham, UK)

“Pioneering but accessible, the authors of this excellent book bring a comparative understanding to a topic that is frequently misunderstood. Muslim Women and Power will prove invaluable to students, researchers and policy makers alike.” (Professor Nasar Meer, Strathclyde University, Glasgow, UK)