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The Devil is in the Details – At the Nexus of Development, Women’s Rights, and Religious Fundamentalism


Published | March 2016

Addressing anti-rights groups


"The Devil is in the Details" is addressing religious fundamentalism and its impact on women’s rights. It suggests action in seven areas such as addressing the structural roots of fundamentalisms or promoting a feminist understanding of religion and culture.

Why read

The paper offers an overview for NGOs to challenge religious fundamentalism and its implications on civil society.


This paper is a resource to improve the understanding of how religious fundamentalism constrains development and women’s rights and how this can be challenged by development actors.

Religious fundamentalisms, intersecting with other structural factors like culture, tradition, and nationalism, are responsible for the degradation of human rights standards, the rollback of women’s rights, the entrenchment of discrimination, and a rise in violence and insecurity.

Given this situation, the collective capacity of development actors to recognize and collaboratively address religious fundamentalisms is prerequisite to advancing social, economic, and gender justice and the human rights of all people in sustainable development.  To realize the Sustainable Development Goals, this paper aims to understand the underlying social currents and structural factors that give rise to gender inequalities, one of which is religious fundamentalisms.

By addressing religious fundamentalism and its impact on women’s rights it is providing insights and concerns drawn from the experiences of development actors who have already been resisting religious fundamentalisms.



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