March 4, 2020

Professors published in new women's rights book

Professors Jennifer Koshan and Jonnette Watson Hamilton have published a chapter in Explorations in Women, Rights, and Religions.

Jennifer and Jonnette's chapter, “Women’s Freedom of Religion Claims in Canada: Assessing the Role of Choice,” explores whether religious women’s reliance on choice to ground their rights claims may undermine the success of those claims. Canadian courts have interpreted religious freedom under section 2(a) of the Charter to include a strong element of choice. However, some religious choices have not received protection under section 2(a), nor under section 15’s guarantee of equality, particularly those choices that are seen to be the cause of the claimant’s harm or that cause harm to others. Jennifer and Jonnette's analysis centers on a case examining a Muslim woman’s freedom to wear a niqab during citizenship ceremonies, situating this case in the broader context of decisions involving women, religious freedom, equality, and choice. These cases confirm insights from the feminist literature about religious women and choice, including the relationship between choice, agency and autonomy; individualization; and the public/private dichotomy. The essay concludes that a de-emphasis on choice may be strategic for religious women’s rights claims.

Explorations in Women, Rights, and Religions explores the many intricate issues raised in the interactions between rights and religions around the world.