Gendered Experiences in Mosques: The Utilization of Sacred Space as a Tool for Marginalization

  • Christine MacKrell University of Mary Washington
  • Caitlin Finlayson, Mentor University of Mary Washington


Historically, mosques have served as houses of worship for those practicing Islam. They are spaces intended for communal, group worship. However, despite the intent of serving as communal houses of worship, men and women do not experience mosques equally. Modern mosques tend to create a patriarchal structure where women do not have access to the same space, duties, or rights as their male counterparts. This paper explores the experiences of Muslim women who attend the University of Mary Washington to determine how their engagement with the space of the masjid differs by gender. In-depth interviews were conducted in order to explore their experience with the space as well as how that space is arranged, and how that arrangement is affected by gender. Participatory fieldwork was also conducted at the Islamic Center of Fredericksburg to further explore the space’s spatial arrangement. Through a discussion of sacred space and equality, the arrangement of Islamic sacred space, the physical divisions of this space, the inequality of these divisions, and the less visible traditions and norms that impose and maintain gender inequalities within mosques, this paper shows how sacred space can be used as a tool for marginalization.

May 1, 2016
How to Cite
MACKRELL, Christine; FINLAYSON, MENTOR, Caitlin. Gendered Experiences in Mosques: The Utilization of Sacred Space as a Tool for Marginalization. Metamorphosis, [S.l.], may 2016. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 20 june 2024.
Social Sciences