Since its mainstreaming in the 1990s, the effectiveness of the gender and development paradigm has been highly debated, but not directly in relation to its epistemological implications. Beyond assuming the relevance of promoting gender equality internationally, no systematic discussion emerged around how gender practitioners should account for local belief and knowledge systems in gender analysis, theorisation and sensitisation. This chapter undertakes to scrutinise the Gender and Development paradigm in relation to non-western religious contexts, applying a critical lens to its deeper metaphysical assumptions of humanity and gender. It traces these metaphysics to western societies’ experience with ‘religion’ and subsequent enlightenment thinking and secularisation and argues that this historical grounding deems some of its assumptions irrelevant or unhelpful in these contexts. The second section of this chapter shifts attention to the Gender-based Violence paradigm that has been uncritically universalised and problematises its implicit western assumptions about gender and ‘religion’, as well as its neglect for intergenerational and psychological parameters of violence in the explanation of intimate partner violence. The chapter builds on post-colonial and other critical works from Africa to suggest a decolonial approach to gender-sensitive research and practice that recognises the possible gendered dimensions of local issues, including intimate partner violence, without assuming their aetiologies in universalist terms as dictated by western epistemology.