The International Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Gender Equality in Turkey will be held on May 23-24, 2022 as a virtual event!

Key issues at the intersection of freedom of belief and gender equality, such as education, religious symbols and public sphere, body politics, religious interpretations and the Presidency of Religious Affairs, will be discussed at the Conference. Please fill out the form below to register for the Conference.

The theme of the Conference is Freedom of Religion or Belief and Gender Equality in Turkey. The aim is to explore and analyse the human rights issues at the intersection of the right to freedom of religion or belief and gender equality, both of which are protected in core international human rights treaties. In addition, the Conference aims to provide an opportunity to discuss Turkey’s historical, institutional and structural problems at the intersection of freedom of religion or belief and gender equality, and to contribute to the visibility of academic research conducted on these topics. Following the call for papers we published in this framework, the Conference organizing committee evaluated the abstracts on related fields or disciplines such as sociology, law, women’s studies, history, political science, film and media studies, religious studies focusing on freedom of religion or belief and gender equality in Turkey.

The program of the two-day Conference, which consists of seven sessions is as follows*:

23 MAY 2022, MONDAY
Welcoming Remarks:

11.00-11.10 (GMT+3)

Dr. Mine Yıldırım 
Opening Session:

11.10-12.20 (GMT+3)

Imagining Freedom of Religion or Belief and Gender Equality Together

Chair: Prof. Dr. Emrah Bertil Oder

Prof. Dr. Serpil Sancar: State-Religion Relation and Gender Equality in Turkey

Assoc. Prof. Nadia Sonneveld: Freedom of Religion in Egypt: Boon or Bane?

Dr. Marie Juul Petersen: Freedom of Religion or Belief, Gender Equality and the SDGs

Lunch Break: 12.20-13.00 (GMT+3)
1st Session:

13.00-14.30 (GMT+3)

Religious Interpretations, Rituals, and Women’s Agency

Chair: Prof. Dr. Bedriye Poyraz

Nurgül Çelebi: Assyrian Woman in Rituals from Ishtar to the Present

Ruveyda Çınar: Norm Formation from a Masculine Perspective in Islamic Law and Gendered Fiqh

Dr. Vanessa Rose de Obaldia: Insights into Gender Equality in Alevism through Case Studies of Istanbul’s Cem Houses

2nd Session:

14.40-15.40 (GMT+3)

Freedom of Religion or Belief and Gender Equality in the Education System

Chair: Işık Tüzün

Dr. Arzu Saldıray: The Challenges Experienced by Alevis in the Mandatory Religious Culture and Ethics Lessons and Gender

Hazal Ocaklı:  Freedom of Religion and Belief of Girls within the Scope of Parents’ Right to Religious Education

3rd Session:

15.50-17.20 (GMT+3)

Experiences at the Intersection of Freedom of Belief and Gender


Chair: Kadriye Aysel Fidan

Sena Arslan: Strengthening the Position of Women in Mosques: The Women in Mosques Campaign

Kayra Akpınar: The Status of Women in Protestant Churches

Ceren Ataş: Alevism: An Ancient Faith Representing Equality of Women and Men and that Remains Despite Pressures

Fatma Yavuz: Can a Woman be the President of the Presidency of Religious Affairs?

24 MAY 2022, TUESDAY
1st Session:

11.00-12.30 (GMT+3)

Representation of Religious Symbols in the Public Sphere

Chair: Dr. Ayşe Çavdar

Prof. Dr. İlknur Meşe: From the Headscarf Ban to Freedom from the Headscarf: Reflections on the Direction of Change in Turkey Between Freedom of Belief and Oppression Based on Religion

Prof. Dr. Adelaide Madera: Headscarves at the Crossroads between Plural Narratives: Where is Turkey Moving Forward?

R. Özgün Kehya: Women as Subjects of Change in ‘Der Hodscha und die Piepenkötter’: A Change at the Intersection of Gender, Post-migration and Religion

Lunch Break: 12.30-13.30 (GMT+3)  
2nd Session:

13.30-15.00 (GMT+3)

Body Politics and Islam

Chair: Prof. Dr. Betül Yarar

Zeynep Kuyumcu: Negotiating Islam and Sexuality Through the Experiences of LGBT Muslims in Turkey

Dr. Duygu Altınoluk: A Gen Z Narrative: Abandoning the Headscarf as an Object of Reluctant Consent

Burcu Kalpaklıoğlu: Guiding Families via the Fatwa Line

3rd Session:

15.10-16.40 (GMT+3)

Public(’s) Governance at the Intersection of Freedom of Belief and Gender

Chair: Assoc. Prof. Zehra Yılmaz

Figen Vural: Freedom of Belief and Social Services in the Context of Human Rights and Gender Equality

Şehide Zehra Keleş Yüksel & Zelal Yalçın: Receiving Services from the “Other” in the Public Service: Encountering Women, Inclusion and Cultural Competence 

Hümeyra Dinçer: Negotiating Gendered Spatiality: Women Preachers in the Mosque

  • The Conference will be held in Turkish and English and simultaneous translation from Turkish to English and English to Turkish will be available.
  • The Conference will be held via Zoom and it will also be recorded for publishing the videos on our YouTube channel.
  • Information and link of the Zoom meeting will be sent to registered participants before the Conference.
  • If you live in a region other than Turkey, we would appreciate it if you could check the equivalent of the event time in your own time zone. You can use to check it.
  • For further questions, please contact us at

Please fill out the form below to register for the Conference until 22 May 2022, Sunday 14.00 (GMT+3).

*Conference program is subject to change. Please check our website to stay informed about the latest version of the program.

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