What's in the Name WISE?

Why WISE? Women’s Islamic initiative in Spirituality and Equality because…

…Muslim Women represent 1/6th of humanity or approximately 175 million people around the world. Although gender-based inequality is a global human rights issue that transcends culture, religion, and socio-economic status, Muslim women in particular confront the limitations of discrimination and inequality. In fact, 20 Muslim-majority countries have the lowest-rankings on the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Gender Gap Index, an index that ranks women’s participation in society.

Contrary to the prevailing negative perceptions about Muslim women, Islamic history contains an impressive record of the remarkable contributions of Muslim women in their roles as leaders, professionals, scholars, teachers, interpreters of sacred text and law, caregivers and activists.

Despite this rich legacy of excellence, the reality is that Muslim women’s ability to confront human rights violations remains hampered because of fragmentation between competing movements.

We chose to unite around Islamic ideals and values to create positive social change 2) to emphasize solidarity and cooperation among divergent and sometimes opposing groups and 3) to promote peaceful and prosperous societies.

We anchored our vision in Spirituality to ground our efforts in ethics and morality 2) to give meaning and purpose to our activism and 3) to acknowledge that our mandate is part of a higher calling.  

We promote an overarching message of gender Equality to echo the Quran’s emphasis on human and gender equality 2) to thwart patriarchal interpretations of the Holy texts which attempt to impede the equality of women and girls and 3) to assert gender equality as a value intrinsic to the Islamic faith meaning that a denial of any of those rights constitutes a violation of Islamic principles.

We chose a path of Wisdom or hikmah to guide us in reaching the higher truth, in understanding the essence of the matter, to enable us to think correctly so we can carry out the right action in any given situation, and to make the best use of knowledge in promoting peace, justice, and equality around the world. 

WISE Launch

WISE was established in 2006 as a faith-based global network and grassroots social justice movement at a historic gathering in New York City. 200 leading Muslim women scholars, activists, artists, religious and civil society leaders – representing more than 25 countries – joined together to develop a holistic and comprehensive vision for improving the position of Muslim women around the globe. Nevertheless, WISE programs are without precedent in scope, scale and mission. Holistic and comprehensive, WISE is transforming the position of Muslim women in innumerable contexts from within the Islamic faith and traditions.

Since this inaugural gathering, WISE has…

Networked hundreds of women change makers at three global conferences & local forums

Published seven evidence & research based position papers to promote women’s rights

Profiled more than 500 Muslim women on our website to amplify their voices

Implemented four longterm impactful projects aimed at creating social change

Published the Wise Up report, a 375-page research report published in collaboration with 72 contributors. 

WISE empowers Muslim women to fully participate in their communities and nations and amplifies their collective voices at all levels of political, economic, religious, and social discourse.