In west European countries, public debates on migration, integration, and diversity are informed by particular understandings of secularism and the secular society. In our increasingly diverse societies, so the story goes, it is needed to implement a certain type of secularism and/or support particular types of secular standpoints in order to maintain a certain status quo that guarantees security, democracy, and equality for all. Religion is often perceived and simultaneously constructed in opposition to the emancipation and equal rights of women. This dominant logic, in which secularism and religion are opposites, makes it difficult for women of diverse religious–cultural backgrounds to cooperate on an equal footing for a shared feminist cause. However, feminist politics and practices that cross religious–secular divides can and do take place. Feminist research has so far paid little attention to the actualities of this feminist border-crossing and the transformations it may engender in our current sociopolitical context. In this article, I aim to offer a consideration of feminist politics and solidarity crossing religious–secular divides in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking northern region of Belgium. Through two case studies, I explore how cooperation and solidarity across religious–secular boundaries are developed and being talked about by activists. I argue that such feminist coalitions can and do directly and indirectly affect the public debates and inspire feminist thinking on issues regarding religion, secularism, and feminism in the multicultural society.
- Feminist politics
- decolonial feminism
- religious– secular differences