In October 21-25, 136 panelists from all over the world gathered in Rabat for the 5th Congress of Francophone Feminist Research. Forty-five women came from Europe, forty-two from North & Sub-Saharian Africa, forty-two also from Canada, four from Brazil, two from Mexico, and one – myself – from the United States.
Feminism and multiculturalism: two concepts that have fueled intense debate between supporters of the universality of the principles of equality and those sustaining the priority of cultural specificities. Critiques of multiculturalism are based on the reality that certain cultural values do not improve women’s conditions in patriarchal societies; these last are often based on gender discrimination in private space and the exclusion of women from public space. Issues coming from the relationship between secular and religious feminisms, as well as between North and South feminisms differently exposed to the distortions of globalization, add to the controversy. At the Congress, the following topics were explored: 1. Feminism in Evolution: a Historical Approach; 2. Feminism between Universalism and Claims of Identity; 3. What Type of Development Should Feminism Promote? 4. Feminism and Modernity; 5. Feminism and Democracy; 6. Does Feminist Research Help Women’s Movements?
Presenting within topic 3 and entitled “Solidarity: Creativity and Plural Listening Strategies,” I underlined the crucial interconnection between personal, interpersonal and social change. Feminist cultures and practices of solidarity start from the analysis and acknowledgement of our own prejudices towards “the other.” This never-ending self-observation of suppositions will eventually support interpersonal and social change. I explore possible collaborations between María Lugones’ analysis of racialization, Chandra Talpade Mohanty’s theory of transnational women’s solidarity and Ruth Fassinger’s works on multicultural-feminist collaborations in Counseling Psychology.
During these five days, in spite of our differences and disagreements, the sharing of Moroccan food, music and singing that Professor Malika Benradi beautifully organized made visible and possible our solidarity and our ‘common differences.’¦