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Theory of Change (2019-2024)

Diagrammatic representation of Musawah's Theory of Change

Our Vision

Musawah envisions that by 2039, 20 years from now, we will live in a world in which gender equality, justice and non-discrimination are embraced as inherent in Islam and reflected in laws and practices.

We achieve this because Muslim women are a collective force for social justice; diversity and lived realities are reflected in and shape religious discourses; and governments are responsive to the human rights of all marginalised communities.

Our Strategic Approach

We strive to implement our vision by investing in three domains of change: public discourse on religion and lived realities; laws, policies, judicial practices and procedures; and social attitudes, behaviours and norms. Within these domains of change, Musawah will advance our work in the following ways:


  • Public discourses on religion and lived realities: We collaboratively develop and facilitate access to multidisciplinary knowledge that promotes equality, justice and non-discrimination as inherent in Islam. Our aim is to empower our advocates and key constituencies with the knowledge, tools and resources to speak against injustice and the use of religion to discriminate against women. 
  • Laws, policies, judicial practices and procedures: We work with women’s rights groups and activists to document and make visible a body of evidence and information on the status and trends on family law reform. We provide activists and advocates with tools and arguments to strategically influence State institutions and policy-makers to enact, reform, implement and enforce laws and policies that uphold equality, justice and non-discrimination for women in Muslim contexts and to end discriminatory practices. 
  • Social attitudes, behaviours and norms: We aim to challenge dominant, patriarchal narratives, norms and social expectations about gender relations in Muslim contexts, and contribute to making visible the diversity of lived realities of Muslims and interpretations of Islamic teachings. We will also amplify the voices of young people and emerging artists in Muslim contexts. By working with media actors (including journalists, citizen bloggers, culture/content creators, artists and musicians, etc), centers of learning, and key constituents in mainstream pop culture, we aim to highlight narratives of Muslim women having agency, autonomy, and playing active roles in society.


Our 5-Year Objective

To amplify our voice globally and accelerate our impact on the ground towards recognition that reform of discriminatory family laws and practices within Islam is possible by galvanizing collective action and garnering broad-based public support.

Our Strategic Initiatives

  1. Facilitating the expansion of public discourses

We popularise the narrative on equality and justice in Islam with the aim of breaking the hegemony of conservative forces on religious discourse and show that reform of discriminatory family laws and practices is possible in diverse Muslim contexts. We will do so by working with key constituents in various media, centers of learning, and mainstream pop culture content creators to build their knowledge and enable them to amplify our message and highlight realities on the ground. 

  1. Building a collective force for change

We organise and mobilise efforts of individuals and organisations at the national, regional and global levels towards collective action for change. We will build the movement through reciprocal and sustained relationships, and engagements in Musawah projects, including the Campaign for Justice in Muslim Family Laws.  We will grow the numbers and diversity of individuals and groups that are able to advocate for equality and justice, and engage with international human rights bodies and gender equality mechanisms to build global momentum on the urgency of promoting law reform, preventing rollbacks and enforcing rights already gained for women in Muslim contexts. 

  1. Developing accessible knowledge resources 

We facilitate access to existing knowledge about gender in Islam and create new knowledge, concepts and narratives about Muslim gender norms, status and trends in family law reform  in simple, accessible language and in a variety of formats (books, policy briefs, advocacy tools, videos and infographics). In collaboration with international scholars and activists, we build our claim to gender equality and arguments for reform using a holistic approach that combines Islamic teachings, international human rights standards, national laws and constitutional guarantees of equality and non-discrimination, and the lived realities of women and men living in Muslim contexts. 

  1. Strengthening capacities and constituencies

We build the capacity and courage of activists, decision-makers and rights groups at the national, regional and global levels to critically speak out on the impact of laws, policies and practices justified in the name of Islam and to promote an understanding of Islam that upholds equality and justice. We are working to increase access to the  Musawah’s course on Islam and Gender Equality and Justice (I-nGEJ) by offering it on an annual basis and by designing shorter programmes to adapt to different audiences.