Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


French and Francophone Studies

First Advisor

Michelle Chilcoat




Feminism, France, Islam, Muslim, Simone de Beauvoir, Women


My French thesis investigates how some definitions of French feminism and particular French feminist movements find themselves oppressing Muslim women. France is a country that has vigorously regulated the separation of Church and State since 1902 legislation that declared “la laïcité” (secularism) obligatory for all public education. In my research I have found that the general belief in France that religion should never have any bearing on political decisions has been beneficial to most French citizens, but it also appears to oppress a number of Muslim women, as witnessed by the on-going debate surrounding the headscarf ban in French public schools initiated in 2004. This ban has actually resulted in many Muslim women deciding based on their own beliefs or being forced (by family members for example) to withdraw from public education. By focusing on one recent feminist group in particular, Fémin, that openly speaks out against Islam and excludes Muslim women from their group, I explore the questions raised when certain kinds or aspects of French feminism unconsciously exclude or openly attack Muslim women based on France’s fundamental belief in “laïcité.”