Date(s) - 15/10/2019
9:00 am - 10:00 am


Join KAICIID and the JLI co-hosted webinar on interreligious dialogue and feminism

Hear from two guest speakers Dr. Iman Bibars and Kaneez Fatima Saeed at COFEM.

Dr. Iman Bibars will speak on empowering women means ensuring women have the ability to choose and become independent, active citizens. However, as there are many systems of oppression working to prevent women’s’ ability to be independent, we must work at the system-level to effect lasting change. Systems-changing initiatives led from within can be effective in advancing women’s’ rights, especially within religious systems. Leveraging religious discourse is important to furthering gender equality, especially in Egypt. Several Ashoka fellows are working within religious systems to create new interpretations of religious teachings that are more compatible with gender equality and the current socioeconomic realities. Ashoka is working to highlight and support these fellows through our new global initiative WISE. Through WISE, we are also working to change the system of defining success in social impact from a gender perspective, and redefining what it means to scale an initiative, empowering women to communicate their successes in a more equitable way. In addition, WISE is working to clearly identify gender-specific challenges faced by women social entrepreneurs globally.

Fatima will be speaking on the creation and sustenance of feminist movements to improve gender equality and address GBV and their intersection with religious movements as well as the backlash to feminist movement building and the role that religious communities play in generating and countering the various forms of backlash. I will draw on specific examples from the women’s movement in Pakistan to illustrate how feminists and religious groups have often been at odds with each through out the country’s history.


View the Webinar Recording: 

Guest speaker bios

Dr Iman Bibars

A visionary for social entrepreneurship and women’s empowerment, Iman Bibars is the Vice President and Global Diaspora Leader of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public and the Regional Director of Ashoka Arab World.

With her direction, Ashoka Arab World has expanded to 11 countries in the MENA region, identifying and supporting more than 100 leading social entrepreneurs.

Dr. Bibars co-founded Egypt’s first microfinance organization, the Association for the Development and Enhancement of Women (ADEW), which supports impoverished female heads of household. With an international career spanning from UNICEF to the World Bank, she is a renowned social development expert, a sought-after trainer and consultant, and the author of several books.

Dr. Bibars holds a PhD in Development Studies from Sussex University and a BA and MA in Political Science from The American University in Cairo. She was a Peace Fellow at Georgetown University and a Parvin Fellow at Princeton University.


Kaneez Fatima Saeed

COFEM is a global community of feminist activists who have come together to support learning and advocacy around women-centered approaches to addressing violence against women and girls. COFEM’s main focus is ensuring a feminist perspective and approaches in work to end violence against women and girls, and addressing issues of accountability to women and girls in work with men and boys to eradicate this violence. Since its inception in 2017, COFEM has been at the forefront of conversations aimed at promoting learning around feminist-informed efforts to address violence against women and girls.

Fatima is an activist, researcher and development practitioner from Pakistan. An ardent supporter of the women’s rights movement in South Asia, she has advocated extensively for the reform of laws and policies discriminating against women and children. Her efforts led to the establishment of a Gender and Child Cell at the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, Government of Punjab, Pakistan and the first ever mechanism for registration of home based women workers in Punjab, Pakistan. At present, she is helping the Center for Reproductive Rights expand the fight for reproductive justice in South Asia and Africa. She is a member of COFEM on whose behalf she advocates for feminist informed approaches to ending violence against women.

She is a graduate of Columbia University and the London School of Economics. In her spare time, she satisfies her sweet tooth while gorging on feminist literature and brainstorming ways to smash the patriarchy.