Hilal Ozcetin


This article explores the emergence of the religious Muslim women’s movement in the 1990s in Turkey, and its relation with the broader women’s movement, including the exclusion of religious Muslim women from the women’s movement. My analysis is based on interviews I conducted in April and May 2006 with religious Muslim women who work in non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and participate in joint projects with other women’s NGOs in Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey. I argue that because of a modernist perspective which views both the headscarf and religious Muslim women as ‘backward,’ as opposed to the ‘ideal female citizen’ as secular and ‘modern,’ religious Muslim women have been largely excluded from women’s movements in Turkey. However, religious Muslim women are challenging this binary categorization and struggle to break the stereotype of ‘backwardness’ that is put upon them; instead they are seeking to reconstruct an identity that is neither ‘modern’ nor ‘anti-modern.’

Author Biography

Hilal Ozcetin is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Sociology Department at Simon Fraser University (Canada). She received an M.A. in Gender Studies (Central European University, Hungary) and a B.A. in Political Science and International Relations (Baskent University, Turkey). Her research interests include Middle Eastern studies, gender, sexuality, body theories and post-colonial theories.