During the last decade, many studies on Islamism have focused on the modernizing force of Islamist movements. Yet, while many Islamists parties seem to be increasingly embracing “modern” values in terms of political and economic organization (such as democracy, human rights, political pluralism and economic liberalism), a solid resistance towards the concept of gender equality remains intact. Is patriarchalism a raison d’être for Islamist movements? Or are we about to see an “evolution” on this issue too? As a contribution to the general debate on Islamism and modernity, this paper seeks to investigate whether the Algerian Islamist party HMS - frequently referred to as the “Woman party” due to its large female activist base - should be understood as a modernizing factor on gender relations. Methodologically, the paper borrows central concepts from social movement analysis theory. The material was largely gathered through fieldwork in Algeria January 2009. The main findings indicate a development characterized by two parallel, apparently contradictory, tendencies: In terms of the “practical” aspects of women’s reality such as education, work and political participation, it seems that the MSP has indeed functioned as a modernizing factor through comprehensive efforts to encourage and facilitate women’s increased participation. On the other hand, at the ideological level the movement seems to have stagnated in a rather “regressive” position. The movement’s gender discourse is characterized by a continued resistance towards translating women’s increased political and economic independence in terms of equal rights (equal citizenship) and women’s differential rights are continuously legitimated in the name of religion and biology. I argue that this apparent inconsistency should be seen in close connection with the political environment within which the MSP operates, and that these tensions are likely to become all the more acute in the near future as women’s issues seem to increasingly enter the Algerian political scene as an independent political issue.