Intersection of Faith and Feminism Discussed

By Antoinette Cea

Asma Udin and Ashley McGuire presented a talk addressing female students at the Catholic University regarding faith, feminism, and everything in between.

The conversation brought together a group of about 100 students in the Great Room of the Edward J. Pryzbyla Center on Thursday night as a part of the ongoing celebration of the achievement of women.

Udin, a practicing Muslim, and McGuire, a practicing Catholic, are founding editors of the web magazines AltFem and AltMuslimah. AltFem and AltMuslimah seek to encourage women to reconsider the typical millennial stereotype of feminism in favor of a feminism supported by religious groups.

“We’re trying to help guide a conversation to the question of ‘what is feminism?’,” said Udin.

Udin was raised in a practicing Muslim home, and after witnessing popular portrayals of Islamic women in the media questioned the equality of men and women. Udin discussed how she eventually came to the conclusion that God had to have created men and women perfectly equal.

McGuire was raised traditionally Protestant, being taught at an early age the issues of Catholicism and the Pope. While attending Tufts University and witnessing firsthand the typical college lifestyle involving parties, etc., McGuire met a practicing Catholic for the first time who taught her the Catholic Church’s stance on contraception. Intrigued, McGuire read works by Dietrich von Hildebrand and Pope John Paul II and decided that Catholicism was the proper route to salvation and truth.

The crux of the conversation held by Udin and McGuire focused on the argument that the upcoming wave of feminism could be brought on by women in religion. Further, the conversation addressed issues often confronted by women in particular religious groups including a physical place in mosques, and ordination for men only.

“Catholicism is about service. We want to find productive ways to use the talents of women.”

The conversation concluded with both Udin and McGuire reaffirming and encouraging young women to strive for what is in their hearts, and have both the goals for motherhood and being a career woman.

“Maybe religion and women of faith can drive forward the next wave of feminism,” said McGuire.

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