Whither feminist alliance? secular feminists and Islamist women in Turkey
Şimga, Fatma Hülya and Göker, Zeynep Gülrü (2017) Whither feminist alliance? secular feminists and Islamist women in Turkey. Asian Journal of Women's Studies, 23 (3). pp. 273-293. ISSN 1225-9276 (Print) 2377-004X (Online)
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/12259276.2017.1349717
The women’s movement has become increasingly entangled with the “secularism versus Islamism” debate in today’s Turkey. While secular feminists believe that escalating authoritarianism and Islamic revivalism threaten gender equality and the gains of the women’s rights movement, Islamist women contest the “western/secular” ideal of gender equality on account of its being antithetical to the Islamic canon. The mutual marginalization by feminists and Islamists, mainly fueled by partisan politics, harms the much needed solidarity among women’s groups to solve the problems women face in Turkey, such as violence and unequal political participation. Moreover, this polarization has the harmful effect of reinforcing patriarchy: men, therefore face no challenges and simply continue to remain the sole producers and controllers of socio-political policies and epistemic resources. Hence, there seems to be a pressing need for secular feminists and Islamists to start a dialogue and focus on problems and issues they share in common, so as to seek urgent solutions to them. This article inquires into the viability of such an alliance through the proliferation of deliberative platforms where civil society organizations can meet at a safe distance from partisan politics and enter productive dialogue and generate policies to resolve the crucial problems women are facing in Turkey.
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