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Religion is a dominant force in private and public life in most developing countries. Based on fieldwork in Nigeria, where Christianity and Islam are the two major religions, this article looks at ways in which religion interplays with development and gender equality, and what this means for development policy and practice. First, it explores conflicts and challenges, looking at how religious and indigenous customary values converge as powerful influences, affecting all areas of women’s lives. The article goes on to examine the impact of these influences on individual women’s choices and aspirations in the context of Nigerian development policy on gender equality. Against this backdrop, it highlights opportunities that can stem from religion, pointing to the ways in which Nigerian faith-based women’s organisations are beginning to use religion as a basis for challenging male bias and promoting holistic development.

This article is hosted by our co-publisher Taylor & Francis. For the full table of contents for this and previous issues of this journal, please visit the Gender and Development website.

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