The status and women in Islam is complex and varied. The Qur'an speaks of women as being created by God and as having full spiritual, social, religious, and political rights. It also speaks of women as being subject to the authority of men, and having different rights than do men. In both academic and religious discourse, there is much debate about the nature of gender and the status of women in Islam.
There is also a marked distinction between the Sunni and Shiite handling of gender. The Sunni tradition is usually characterized as being the more liberal of the two. In recent years, many Sunni and Shiite Muslims in both Islamic nations and secular democracies have pushed to bring the debate about gender out into the open.