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Known for Being

A Moroccan sociologist who was one of the founders of Islamic feminism.

An internationally known author.

Major Accomplishments

Dr. Fatema Mernissi was a Moroccan feminist writer and sociologist and one of the founders of Islamic feminism. She studied political science at the Sorbonne and at Brandeis University, gaining her doctorate in 1957. Upon her return to Morocco, she was a lecturer at the Mohamed V University of Rabat and a research scholar at the University Institute for Scientific Research.

Mernissi’s work centered on gender relations in Morocco and other Arab Muslim societies. Notable titles include Beyond the Veil: Male Female Dynamics in Modern Muslim Society (1975), and The Veil and the Male Elite: A Feminist Interpretation of Women’s Rights in Islam (1991), in which Mernissi rigorously, patiently and elegantly dismantled the Qur’anic “evidence” of women’s inferiority proffered by imams who demanded that men enforce submission from women. With scrupulous attention to detail, Mernissi connected the degradation of woman to man, rather than the word of the religion.

Last modified: 01/09/2019

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