Feminist Forum Seminar - Dominant narratives on the Muslim headscarf within feminist circles in France and Australia present conflicting points of view.
The majority of French feminists tend to condemn the headscarf as a patriarchal imposition on women, while the majority of Australian feminists tend to focus on the agency of Muslim women to choose to wear the headscarf if they wish to.
This contrast in attitudes among feminists is paralleled by contrasting attitudes in mainstream politics: in France laws were introduced in 2004 and 2010 banning the hijab in schools and the niqab in public places (and these laws are widely supported by feminists), while in Australia Pauline Hanson’s wearing of the burqa in the Senate in August 2017 was condemned by politicians from all parts of the political spectrum (as well as by most feminists).
- Where do these differing approaches come from?
- What are their effects on women, whether from Muslim backgrounds or not?
- What can Australian feminists learn from the French situation, and vice versa?
- And more broadly, what do these contrasting approaches to the headscarf suggest about a more general approach to feminist anti-racism?
This feminist forum will discuss these questions and more from the point of view of a feminist activist.
About the speaker
Catherine Weiss is a woman of colour and a feminist and anti-racist activist working in both Australia and France. In her spare time she is also a PhD student at RMIT, studying the relationship between sexuality and care.