Gender, inclusivity and UK mosque experiences

Shannahan, Dervla Sara. 2014. Gender, inclusivity and UK mosque experiences. Contemporary Islam, 8(1), pp. 1-16. ISSN 1872-0218 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Access to, management and attendance of places of worship often takes gendered forms. Gender imbalances in UK mosques manifests in attendance and management patterns and is reflected in the facilities available. The sense that mosques are perceived widely as ‘prayer-clubs for men’ (Maqsood 2005: 4–5) is often reflected in the physical spaces and facilities made available to female worshippers, and it must be noted that some mosques do not provide any of the latter at all (Dispatches 2006). Shockingly, a recent survey found that ‘women form part of the congregation in [only] half (51%) of the organisations surveyed’ (Coleman 2009: 10). Relatedly, UK Mosque management committees privilege male involvement, decision-making and leadership roles, with figures of as few as 15% women in management positions (Asim 2011: 34) and more who ‘will simply not entertain the idea’ (Asim 2011: 39). Such imbalances reflect the specificities of the UK-religious context (Maqsood 2005) yet, globally, women’s mosque involvement appears to be changing far more rapidly than here. This paper explores how gender, religious identity and sexualities interface with women’s mosque access, involvement and experiences therein. It draws upon original research with a sample of women, and indicates that inclusivity is an important topic in UK mosques, far beyond gender.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Mosques Islam Muslim community Gender Inclusivity Inclusion Mosque access

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


January 2014Published

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Date Deposited:

29 Oct 2014 12:18

Last Modified:

20 Jun 2016 14:07

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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