New conversations on gender, race and religion
Headscarves in schools. “Ethnic gangs” and rape. Domestic violence in Indigenous communities. Polygamy. Sharia law. Integration and respect for women. It seems that around the world in the media and public debate, concerns about cultural minorities often revolve around issues of gender and women’s rights. Yet all too often, discussions about complex matters are reduced to simplistic debates such as “hijab: to ban or not to ban?” or “Muslim women: oppressed or liberated?”. The crude sensationalism of these debates often reflects the cynical agendas of conservative politicians and commentators who hijack the language of feminism to demonise minority communities for their “lack of respect” for women. The overall result is a chronic narrowing of the scope for serious and complex discussion about important issues.