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Unveiling Scheherazade: Feminist Orientalism in the International Alliance of Women, 1911-1950

Author(s): Charlotte Weber


Source: Feminist Studies, Vol. 27, No. 1 (Spring, 2001), pp. 125-157
Published by: Feminist Studies, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3178453
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UNVEILING SCHEHERAZADE:FEMINIST
ORIENTALISMIN THE INTERNATIONAL
ALLIANCEOF WOMEN, 1911-1950

WEBER
CHARLOTTE
In an article published in 1982, Leila Ahmed chastised Western
feministsfor their "docilitytoward the received ideas of their culture"regardingMuslim women in the Middle East.1She pointed
to theircomplicityin perpetuatingan image of Islam as monolithic and unchanging,a powerful forcethat not only preventsIslamic societies fromemulatingthe "progress"
of the Westbut that also
keeps women in a state of abjectslavery.That image belongs to
the generalconstellationof ideas labeled "orientalism"
by Edward
Said, who used the term to designate the West'srepresentations
and dominationof the East.2His 1979work analyzed the historical constructionof a Westerndiscoursethat persistentlymisrepresents both Islam and its adherents, especially within the Arab
world. As Said and other scholars since have documented, the
West has long evinced an enduring fascinationwith the harem
and the veil, recurringtropes in orientalistliteraturethat symbolize Muslimwomen's oppressionand eroticismsimultaneously.
Said presentedorientalismas a male preserve,a discoursearticulated exclusivelyby men that "feminized"the Eastby attributing
to it qualitiestypicallyassociatedwith Womanherself-irrationality, licentiousness, exoticism. Recently,feminist scholars such as
Billie Melman and Reina Lewis have augmented his work by
examiningthe extent to which Westernwomenparticipatedin the
construction of that discourse. Their attention to the ways in
which gender and class mediated European representationsof
the Middle East during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
has considerably enhanced our understanding of orientalism's
complexity. Whereas Said described a unified, monolithic discourse created by imperialist men, Melman and Lewis have
Feminist Studies 27, no. 1 (spring 2001). ? 2001 by Feminist Studies, Inc.
125

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Charlotte Weber

shown orientalismto be "multivocaland heterogeneous,"open to


inconsistencyand rupture.4As the inferior"Otherwithin"Western societies,Europeanwomen artistsand travelersto the Middle
East offered visions of the "Otherwithout" that differed from
hegemonic notions of the Orientbut that still affirmedthe basic
separationbetween West and East. During the Victorianera, for
the
example,middle-classEnglishwomen visitors "domesticated"
harem-thatarchetypalsymbol of unrestrainedEasternsexualityby comparingit with an idealized, bourgeois home, a kind of female sanctuary."
Such visions demonstrate,in Lewis'swords, that
within
the discourse for a feminine, and perhaps
"thereis room
less virulentlyxenophobic,version of Orientalismthat adapts and
amendsbut does not remove the imperialimperative."6
My concernhere is less with th "feminineversion"of orientalism than with an explicitlyfeministone. Whathappenedwhen the
Westernfounders of the internationalwomen's movement first
turned their gaze to the Middle East? How did European and
North Americanwomen who were criticalof their own societies
contemplate the oriental "Other"?I focus specifically on the
InternationalWoman Suffrage Alliance (later,the International
Alliance of Women for Suffrageand Equal Citizenshipand then
the InternationalAllianceof Women,or IAW).Of the threemajor
organizationsthat attempted to mobilize women internationally
during the first half of the twentieth century (the others were the
InternationalCouncil of Women and the Women'sInternational
League for Peace and Freedom),the IAWwas the most self-consciously feminist,regularlyusing that term to describeitself and
its activities.' In contrast to the ICW and the WILPF,the IAW
claimed women's rights as its primary goal, espousing a liberal
feminism that sought legal and political equality with men.
Founded and led by Europeanand North Americanwomen, the
organizationneverthelesstried to unite women across the world
aroundthe issues of suffrageand equal citizenship."Whateverthe
limits of their analysis of and proposed remedies for gender oppression,its memberssharedthe fundamentalfeministconviction
that women worldwide were unfairly disadvantagedrelative to
men. Thatconvictioncontainedthe seeming potentialfor women's
solidarity across boundaries of nationality,religion, and culture,
making the IAWa useful case study of the junctureof feminism,
imperialism,and orientalism.9

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Given its origins in the tradition of the European Enlightenment, modem liberalfeminism (of which suffragismwas perhaps
the paradigmaticexpression) has hardly escaped orientalist influence. Indeed, with few exceptions,FirstWave feminists of all
stripes readily accepted a key element of the West's orientalist
legacy-namely, the unquestioned belief in the superiority of
"Western"
ways. Manifestedby representationsof the harem and
the veil as inherentlymore oppressivethan monogamy and Western dress (representationsthat ignore the historicalspecificityof
those institutions as well as their contested political meaning),
this belief lies at the heart of what Joyce Zonana calls "feminist
orientalism."10
Her analysis of JaneEyresuggests that the use of
orientalistimagery by Britishfeminist writers to describe women's oppressionblunted the radicaledge of their feminismby implying that patriarchy was an "Eastern"element to be purged
from the West.In Zonana'sformulation,feminist orientalismwas
not merely a set of stereotypesabout Muslim women but a threat
wielded against Westernmen: they risked appearing'backward"
if they behaved in "Eastern"
ways.
The phenomenon of feminist orientalismand its ramifications
for the internationalwomen's movement has thus far receivedlittle attentionfrom historians."As AntoinetteBurtonas observed,
although feminist scholars across disciplines have increasingly
acknowledged and sought to analyze ethnocentrismin Western
feminism(s),their insights neverthelesslack historicalcorroboration.12Burton'sown study of Britishsuffragists'attitudes toward
Indianwomen contributesmuch to our understandingof the historical relationshipbetween early Westernfeminist movements
and imperialism,yet furtherresearchis clearlyneeded. As Muslim feminists have repeatedly protested, their Westerncounterparts continue to display an astounding (and willful) ignorance
about Islam. In light of the mutual suspicion that characterizes
geopolitical relations between the West and the Islamic Middle
East, and especially given today's polarizing debates between Islamists and feministsin some countries,attentionto the historical
role and consequencesof feminist orientalismseems particularly
significant.In contemporaryEgypt, for example, the controversy
over women's proper"role"is framedas a fight for the survivalof
Islam itself. Becausefeminism has been so closely identified with
Western imperialism, many Muslims erroneously perceive in-

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A hisdigenous feministmovementsto be inherentlyanti-Islam."3


toricalanalysis of feministorientalismmay offer insights into the
ways in which Westernfeminists, however inadvertently,have
helped to circumscribethe debateover women's "role"in Islam.
In 1911-1912,InternationalWomanSuffrageAlliance President
CarrieChapmanCattand Dutch feministAlettaJacobsembarked
on a world tour to recruitnew membershipfor the organization.
This trip representedthe group'sfirsteffortto expandits base outside of Europeand North Americaand marksthe beginningof the
internationalwomen's movement'sencounterwith women in the
Middle East.14In order to understand how that encounter was
shaped by the geopoliticalrealignmentsthat occurredafterWorld
War I, my study extends until 1950. The course of these forty
years saw the collapse of the OttomanEmpire,its replacementin
much of the Middle Eastwith the Mandatesystem, and the emergence of Arab nationalism, profound transformations which
formed the context in which the relationshipsbetween Western
and Middle Easternwomen evolved.
Between 1911 and 1950, approximatelythirty articlesconcerning the Middle East (all in English) appearedin the IAW newsjournal Jus Suffragii(The right to vote).15As the organization's
most importantforum for the exchangeof ideas and information,
the journalbecame the site of an evolving discoursesurrounding
Middle Eastern women. My analysis of that discourse asks a
number of related questions:How did European/North American feminists understand and represent the institutions of the
harem and the veil? Did those representationschange over time?
To what extent was Islam blamed for Muslim women's "oppression"?Did the encounter between Westernand Middle Eastern
women prompt a reevaluationof Westernwomen's oppression
within their own societies?Finally,how did their perceptionsof
Middle Easternwomen influence the response of Westernfeminists to the rise of Arabnationalism?As numerous scholarshave
demonstrated, the success of the internationalwomen's movement often founderedon the failureof Westernfeministsto recognize the links between "ThirdWorld"feminism and nationalism,
on the one hand, and those between Westernfeminismand imperialism,on the other.16To what degree was that failurebased on
and "East"?
preconceivednotions of "West"
I argue that Westernfeminist attitudestoward Middle Eastern

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women were more complex than the concept "feministorientalism"suggests. WhereasZonanaused the term to denote a particularformof orientalismdeployed in a particularstrategicmanner,
I submit that there is tension between its two constituent elements. What emerges from the pages of JusSuffragiiis a complicated discourse in which feministideas sometimes subvert traditional hallmarksof orientalism.Beginningwith CarrieChapman
Catt'simpressionsof Egypt and Palestinein 1911,Westernmembers of the IAWexpressedperceptionsof Middle Easternwomen
that both challenged and sustained popular stereotypes. Their
recognitionthat women around the world sharedpatriarchaloppression enabled them, in some instances,to transcendthe orientalist distinctionbetween "West"and "East."Europeanand North
Americanwomen could, and indeed did, forge bonds with their
Middle Easterncounterpartsbased on their common experience
as women.Moreover,their feminism allowed them to distinguish
between myth and reality:in a departurefrom conventionalWestem wisdom concerningIslam,they did not attributewomen'scondition to religious prescription.Indeed, Westernfeminists sometimes sought to rebut common misperceptionsof Islam,pointing
to the gap between its trueprinciplesand actualpractice.
But those insights notwithstanding, Westernmembers of the
IAW stopped short of acknowledgingIslam'spotential as a basis
for feminist activism. Nor did their exposure to Middle Eastern
societies prompt them to reevaluate the relative merits of their
own. Ultimately,the belief of Westernfeministsin the superiority
of Europeanculture proved stronger than their belief in "global
sisterhood." Their conviction that they needed to "help"their
more oppressed sisters reflected an a priori assumption that
women's seclusion signified their total helplessness, blinding
them to whatever power and authorityMiddle Easternwomen
did possess. That convictionalso underlay the failureof the IAW
to confronthead-on the West'simperialistlegacy and would lead
eventually to an enduring rift between Westernand Arab feminists over the issue of Palestine.
During the 1920s and 1930s, the Palestinianconflict became a
rallyingpoint for Arab women's activism throughoutthe Middle
East,yet Westernmembersof the LAWdid not perceive the feminist implicationsof such activism,nor did they fully comprehend
its source. As Margot Badranhas shown, Egyptianwomen took

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the lead in developing a pan-Arabfeministmovement within the


context of Arab nationalism, which saw women's liberation as
part of the largerstruggle for nationalliberation."In the eyes of
Arab feminists committed to Palestinian national sovereignty,
Zionism was linked directly to Britishimperialism."1
Their view
was seemingly confirmedby the initial supportfor Zionist settlement expressedby Westernrepresentativesof the IAW (many of
them British),who saw the presence of EuropeanJewish immiSuch support not
grants as a stimulus to the region's "progress."
reflected
orientalist
about
Westernsuperiority
only
assumptions
but also ignored the nationalistramificationsof the Zionist project. Westernfeminists who visited Palestine commented on the
"excessivenationalism"of Arab women but describedthe activities of Jewishwomen as though they lackeda politicaldimension,
thereby overlooking the reality of Jewish/Arab nationalist tensions. Consequently,although the IAW avoided taking a stance
on the political future of Palestine,the organizationappearedto
Arab feminists to be unsympatheticto their concerns.19
The ultimate break between Arab and Westernfeminists over Palestine
was perhapsinevitable,but I arguethat persistentideas aboutthe
of Arab women prevented Westernmembers of
'"obackwardness"
the IAW from a fuller appreciationof the conflict.And thus the
vision of united womanhood so deeply cherishedby the organization proved, in the end, illusive.
MAKING CONTACT: A VISIT TO PALESTINE AND EGYPT

In July 1911, InternationalWoman Suffrage Alliance President


CarrieChapmanCattand Dutch feministAlettaJacobstook off on
a trip aroundthe globe to bring more women into the IWSAfold.
Founded during the 1904 Berlin Congress of the International
Council of Women (the oldest internationalwomen's group), the
IWSA grew out of the frustrationof some of the ICW members
with that organization'srefusal to take a stance on the issue of
women's suffrage.Its membershiporiginallyincludedten national
suffrageassociations;by 1914,that numberhad grown to twentyfive. As the first explicitlyfeministinternationalwomen's organization, the IWSAwas primarilyconcernedwith winning the franchise, although by 1920 its agenda had expanded to include a host
of other women's rights issues. Dedicated to "the civil, moral, and
economic enfranchisement of women," the alliance addressed
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questionsof women's statusrangingfromprostitutionand slavery


to equal pay and married women's nationality rights.20In 1926,
after women in many countries finally obtained the vote, the
group changed its name to the InternationalAlliance of Women
(IAW)to reflectits broadenedfocus.
From its inception,the IWSAwas dominatedby women from
the United States and Northern and WesternEurope.Nevertheless, its members held high hopes that women from around the
world could be brought togetherto protest their universal status
as second-classcitizens. Differencesof race, religion, and culture
would be overcomeby commitmentto a common cause. Finnish
suffragist Annie Furuhjelm,reflecting on the heady days of the
first IWSAconferencein 1904,recalledthe organization'sfounding ethos:
First and foremost we get to know the ideals of womanhood, and we find that
our ideals as women citizens are strangely alike. In spite of differences of tradition and climate, of race, religion, and language, we feel we all have something
in common. We perceive that the motor force of the whole movement is the
intuitive comprehension of women that they have to go out of their individual
homes in order to make the big world more of a home, through all we feel the
warm beating of a woman's heart, and her wonderful optimism in regard to
the problems of our day.21

If her words suggest the spirit of internationalism that IWSA


members hoped their organizationembodied, they also reveal a
vision of feminism as one predicatedon women's entry into the
public sphere. Uniquely qualified as caretakers,women needed
to bring their special abilities to bear on national and world
affairs. Only by coming out of their "individual homes" could
they hope to gain equalitywith men.
Such rhetoric,based on prevailingnotions of female/male difference, was commonly used by Anglo-Americansuffragists to
persuade their opponents that the franchisewould not threaten
women's traditionalrole. Yetthe emphasis on extendingwomen's
work outsidethe homenot only assumed a universaldivision between public and privatespheresbut also that the female/private
sphere was, in Sheila Webster'swords, "somehowperipheralto
'society.'""The feminist agenda set by the Euro/Americanleaders of the IWSA, which focused on the attainment of formal
equality, put forth women's participation in public life as the
touchstone of their emancipation.Accordingly,their assessment
of women's status in non-Westerncountrieswould be coloredby

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the supposition that the degree of women's oppressionmirrored


the degree of theirseclusionfromthe public sphere.
Thatbelief formedpart of the ideologicalprism throughwhich
CarrieChapmanCattand AlettaJacobsviewed Middle East societies during theirfifteen-monthtrip to Africaand Asia in 1911-12.
Their itinerary included South Africa, Palestine, Syria, Egypt,
Ceylon, India, Burma, the East Indies, the Philippines, China,
Korea,and Japan.The two women set off on theirjourneyas ambassadorsof women's liberation,intending to spreadword of the
suffrage cause and to expand the alliance'smembershipoutside
of Europe,Australia,and North America.Theirmission was also
in part a fact-findingone, to collect informationand reportback
on the varying conditionsof women aroundthe globe. Catt'spersonal diaries of the trip, along with the articlesshe wrote for Jus
Suffragii,reflecther impressionsand interpretationsof the many
foreignculturesshe encountered.23
They offera revealingglimpse
her
intellectual
the
of
own
horizons. Catt was
into
broadening
undeniablyethnocentric,but she also made discoveriesthat challenged her cultural smugness. A self-professedAmerican chauvinist before she left, she returnedfrom her trip somewhat chastened:"OnceI was a regularjingo but that was beforeI had visited other countries.I had thought Americahad a monopoly on all
that stands for progress,but I had a sad awakening.... ."24
Despite Catt'sacknowledgmentof her formerhubris,however,
she remainedassured that Westernwomen would lead the international feminist movement:they had, after all, "leftthe seeds of
revolution behind"them. That conviction underpinned the discourse of feminist orientalismthat would evolve in the pages of
Jus Suffragii.Beginning with Catt's reports from Palestine and
Egypt, the journal'scommentatorsdisplayed a growing preoccupation with the system of strictsexual segregationin Islamicsocieties, which they perceived as unrelievedly oppressive to women." The veil in particularwould assume prominenceas the quintessential symbol of women's subordinatestatus. Because Western feministsassessed women's power and authorityon the basis
of their access to the public sphere, they were not only blind to
the degree of social influenceMuslim women actuallypossessed,
but they also failed to considerhow Muslim women interpreted
their own status and needs. Nevertheless, it would be too simplistic to write off Western feminists' perceptions of Islamic cultures

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as standardorientalistfare.Theirexpectationsof female solidarity


acrossracial,cultural,and religiouslines, while admittedlynaive,
was not completely chimerical.As Catt'sown recordsand subsequent pieces in Jus Suffragiireveal,Westernmembersof the IAW
did form real and lasting bonds with women in the Middle East.
Moreover,they frequentlyrecognizedand sought to correctpopular misconceptionsabout Islam in the West.Ultimately,the constructionof "Muslimwoman"by the IAWwas markedby the tension between orientalism and its particularbrand of feminism.
The resultwas a hybrid discoursethat simultaneouslyveiled and
unveiled its subject.
We did not expect to carry the woman suffrage movement to
Jerusalem. It is a poor, sorrowful appendage of Turkey, without a
government of its own, with no daily newspaper and not one public telephone. Its people are poor, illiterate, filthy. Those familiar
with this country say the people today stand exactly where they
did two thousand years ago. They are doing the same things and
in the same old way. The only thing which has changed is religion.
Mohammed has arisen since the days of Christ and counts millions
among his followers. This is now a Mohammedan land, and the
customs common in lands of that faith prevail there. But these customs, generally speaking, were usual to this part of the world in
Christ's day, so after all, even the changes brought by religion have
not been very important.
-Carrie Chapman Catt, "TheHoly Land,"Jus Suffragii,15 Feb. 1912

The quotationabove reflectsCatt'sless than charitableopinion of


life in Palestine,which in 1911was under Ottomanrule. She went
on to wonder what would have become of its people had it not
been for the missionariesand theirschools,noting the many "selfsacrificing,consecratedmen and women"who were "doingtheir
A striking
utmost to leaven this lump of fossilized humanity."26
of
the
Palestinian
orientalism,
example
society
passage presents
as timeless and unchanging,a living relicfrombiblicaldays.
Indeed, Catt was initially charmedby this image: she thought
every Christian clergyman and Jewish rabbi would do well to
visit the Holy Land in orderto understandthe Biblemore clearly.
By the end of her stay,however, she had grown disillusionedby
what she perceived to be rampant religious hypocrisy among all
three of the faiths. She decided that Palestine was too religious, its

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inhabitantsexcessivelynaive and credulous.27


Of interesthere is Catt'sattitude toward Islam. Skepticalof all
religions, she was not inclined to consider Islam any more-or
less-"backward"than any other. Moreover, she recognized the
differencebetween custom and religious prescription,noting the
enduranceof the formerin spite of changes in the latter.If Palestine was hopelessly behind the times, it was due less to the rise of
Islam that to the dominating influence on the region of all three
majorreligions:Palestinewould not progressuntil the time came
when "the Jews will cease from their lamentations, when the
priests will turn aside from the sacred spots they are guarding
and the Moslems will cease praying long enough to give a day's
seriousconsiderationto the needs of present-dayhumans."28
How, then, did Cattview the conditionof women? For starters,
she linked the level of their feministconsciousnessto the relative
"worldliness"
of men:"Wheremen in the masses are illiterate,unambitious,superstitious,creed-bound,we can expectlittlebetterof
women." She referredhere specificallyto Arab Muslim women.
During her stay,Catt observedand met with EuropeanChristian
and Jewishwomen, but she reservedmost of her writtencommentaryfor the "mysteriouswomen behind the veil."Nevertheless,the
articlesubmittedto Jus Suffragiiis revealing.Despite Catt'scynicism toward all religious creeds, she assumed that European
Christiansand Jews would be the agents of progressin Palestine.
Just as the Zionist colonies "appearedlike bits of the new world
transplantedinto the old,"she concludedthatChristianmissionaries representedthe best hope for Palestinianwomen. Noting that
churcheswere more easily convertedto the belief in sexual equality in countrieswhere women had the vote, she closed her piece
with the following exhortation:"Suffragistsof the world, if you
want to upliftthe womenof Palestineand Syriaget the women of
(my italics). Palestinian and
your own country enfranchised!"29
needed
women
Syrian
clearly
help from their more "advanced"
Westernsisters.
Her relative equanimity toward Islam notwithstanding, Catt
never questionedthe presumedsuperiorityof the "West"over the
"East."But her convictionthat women's oppressionwas universal
prompted a sincere eagerness to meet Muslim women and find
out about their lives. Appointmentswith women from four differentMuslim households had been arrangedthroughthe Jerusa-

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lem mission where Cattand Jacobswere staying.Of the four families, two were prominent and well-to-do; the other two were
from the middle class."Catt'saccountsof these visits reflectedher
naturalcuriosity about differentcultures,as well as her assumptions about the state of Muslimwomen's feminist"awareness."
Invariably,Cattquestionedher hosts about the veil. She wanted
to know whether there was a movement for its removal, and if
they would ever consider unveiling in public. Reaction to her
query varied: some women expressed shock at the thought of
showing their faces to men; others said they expected the custom
eventuallyto die out. Duringone such conversation,Cattlearnedto her surprise-that veiling was not prescribed by the Qur'an.
Impressedby her young informant,Catt wrote of her:"Shewas
intelligent and certainly a woman's woman in sympathy and
understandingof the movement, of which she had never heard
until that day."31
What are we to make of these encounters?Catt'sinterestin the
veil clearly suggests that she took it to be a symbol of women's
subordinatestatus-and would have considered a movement for
its abolition a positive step in the feminist direction.Consistent
with the long history of Westernfascinationwith veiling, such a
view did not necessarilyreflectwhat the veil meant to the women
who wore it.32Catt'sdiary does not indicate whether she asked
her hosts if they consideredthe veil to be a markof inferiority,nor
if she sought their views on women's general condition. If she
had, she might have discoveredthat Islamiclaw grantedwomen
full propertyrights-a gain Westernwomen did not achieve until
well into the nineteenthcentury.The lackof such informationsuggests that the dialogue between Catt and her new acquaintances
was less than an equal exchange.
Nevertheless, Catt did not think that feminist consciousness
was limited to the "Western"
mind. She recognizeda kindredspirit in the young woman describedabove and informedthe readers
of JusSuffragiiof her "importantdiscovery that the seeds of rebellion have alreadybeen planted"in the heartsof Muslim women.33
Moreover, she expressed a genuine sense of communion with
them, generatedby her belief that the rootcause of women's oppression everywhere was the same. Catt'sdiary recounts a story
she heard about a Syrian man who, having been to America, decided he wanted a "progressive" marriage and chose his own

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wife. When he brought her home to meet his mother, the "shy
girl"was too embarrassedto eat, so he slapped her,telling her she
now '"belongedto him"and threateningto hit her again if she did
not eat. Catt's comment: "Thisbeautiful story illustrates how
readily men will grasp a new liberty for themselves but how
utterlythey fail to comprehendthat women have a human liking
She blamed malepresumption-rather
than Islamic
for libertytoo!"34
culture-forthe young wife's misfortune.
By the time Catt filed her reporton Egypt, her capacityfor rising above orientalistassumptionshad evidently grown. Struckby
the difference in the degree of veiling there compared with
Palestine (where women's faces were completely covered by a
thickblackveil, and theirhands and arms concealedas well), she
offeredthe following observations:
To the newcomer the unveiling of the Moslem woman seems the obvious
first step towards an improvement of their position, but further acquaintance
leads me to think that the veil is only an unimportant symptom of a condition.
The seclusion of women and the wearing of the veil is not in response to commands of the Koran, but are customs which are supposed to have grown out of
the long religious wars when no woman's life or virtue was held sacred.
Christian women were as carefully secluded and throughout this Eastern
country women wore the veil.... It is evident that the veil will soon take its
departure, but it is not so easy a thing to unveil as it appears to the outside....
Women who can afford a carriage will not walk on the streets on account of the
insults certain to be aimed at them. The better educated women do not
approve of the veil and are much dissatisfied with the conditions which compel them to wear it. For the present, however, it is a protection which will
doubtless continue, until the men of the land have been taught to respect
women more than they do now.35

Here Catt demonstrated a sympathetic understanding of the


that veiling affordedwomen. More significantpresentadvantages
she
decided
that the veil was merely an "unimporly, however,
tant symptom"of women's generalcondition.Thatperceptionnot
only constituted a departurefrom popular Westernopinion on
the subjectbut representedan evolution in her own thinking as
well. Indeed, the passage as a whole seems to reflect what she
may have learnedthroughconversationswith Egyptianwomenan indicationthat she was receptiveto theirown analysesof their
position.
Thus Cattestablishedthe beginningof the IAW'sdiscoursesurrounding Muslim women. Her impressions of the Middle East
were at once patronizingand deeply sympathetic.Tobe sure, she

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137

did not consider Palestine and Egypt to be as "advanced"as


Europeor the United States,nor did she think Islamicculturehad
anything to offer women in the West.Whereexposure to Muslim
societies had prompted some earlierEuropeanwomen travelers
to the Middle East to become more criticalof their own, nothing
in Catt'swriting indicatesshe did the same.36Her empathyfor the
hassles unveiled Egyptianwomen faced from men, for instance,
did not inspire a correspondinganalysis of Victoriandress and
the dictatesof modesty in Westernsocieties (otherthan a recognition of the absurdity of Parisianhigh fashion).Still, Catt'sfeminism did allow her to feel moments of real solidaritywith Muslim
women and, in some cases, gain deeper insights into their lives
than the long history of Westernorientalismmight suggest. The
discourse she initiated would continue in the same complicated,
and at times contradictory,vein.
REPRESENTINGMUSLIMWOMEN
The success of the Catt-Jacobsworld trip in establishingnew contacts outside the West was reflectedin an announcementfor the
IWSA'sseventh conference,to be held in Budapest on June 15,

1913:

Especially invited Delegates are expected from Egypt, India, Burmah, China,
Japan and the Philippines. For the first time in the woman movement, it is
expected that Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian, Mohammedan, Jewish and
Christian women will sit together in a Congress uniting their voices in a common plea for the liberation of their sex from those artificial discriminations
which every political and religious system has directed against them.37

Although not all the expected delegates actually attended, the


Budapestconferencesignified the IWSA'seffortsto become truly
international.Yet that goal proved elusive: despite the gradual
addition of membersections from Asia, Africa,and South America, the IWSA remaineda Western-dominatedmovement.38And,
as has been well documentedby historiansLeila Rupp and Margot Badran,membership patterns within the organization ultimately reproduced the global relations of dominance between
Until the 1935 Congress in
imperialistand colonized countries.39
Istanbul, all its conferences and board meetings were held in
Western Europe, and Jus Suffragiicontinued to be published primarily in English (with some articles appearing in French or

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German).40Moreover, European and American women filled


most of the organization'sleadershippositions:in 1932,for example, its board membership included only two representatives
fromnon-Westerncountries.41
Such imbalancein representationstemmed from the IAWleadership'stacitbelief that Westernwomen had originatedfeminism.
Given their identification of feminism almost exclusively with
movements for female suffrage,thatbelief was not unreasonable:
notwithstanding their acknowledgment of the commonality of
discriminationagainst women in "everyreligious and political
system,"Western feminists who had won the vote considered
themselves to be less oppressed than their disfranchisedEastern
sisters. But their focus on the attainmentof politicalrights necessarily limited their diagnosis of women's oppression in other
spheres. Satisfied that the issue of women's equality would be
resolved once women enjoyed the same civic opportunities as
men, Westernfeministsavoided other,potentiallymore troubling,
questions of gender relations.Moreover,measuringwomen's status solely in terms of their involvementin public life led them to
conclude that Westernsocietieswere more progressivethan nonWesternsocieties in all aspects of civilization.That assumptionimplicit in CarrieChapmanCatt'searly reportsfrom Egypt and
Palestine-became more pronounced in subsequent representations of Middle Easternwomen.
Between 1912 and 1950, twenty-seven pieces that made more
than passing referenceto the Middle East appearedin the pages
of Jus Suffragii.With twelve issues published per year (a typical
issue contained several feature-lengtharticles plus many short
news items), this is indeed a small amount.Most were submitted
by Europeanor Americanvisitors to the region, although reports
written by Arab contacts became more frequent in later years.
Comparedwith its coverage of feminist movements in the West,
the IAWpaid only sporadicattentionto Middle Eastwomen, yet
a particularmode of discourseclearlyemerges.Its chief hallmark
is the juxtapositionof global-spiritedfeminism and Westernethnocentrism that characterizedthe IAW'svision of international
sisterhood. For example, a 1915 report on women's progress in
Egypt (thenunder a Britishprotectorate)describedthe countryas
one where "religionteachesthat women have no souls"and offered this bit of wisdom on the increasingsupportfor women's edu-

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cation:"Apparentlyit is dawning on the younger men of Mohammedan countries that an educated wife and helpmate is more
interesting than a woman whose most startling capacity is like
that of 'Sal,'famous in Westernsong and story as a 'blamegood
sitter.'"42 This piece full of orientalist cliches about the laziness
and ignoranceof haremwomen, was followed in 1923by an article on Turkishwomen that sought to dispel Westernmisconceptions about Muslim societies.Its author,ArthurField, secretaryof
the Anglo-TurkishSociety,felt compelledto "protestemphatically
against the still widely currentbelief that woman in Turkeyhas
been a slave, as compared with woman in Christendom, as a
whole."43Not coincidentally,1923was the year that Turkey-under
the westernizing leadership of Mustafa Kemal "Ataturk"-declareditself a republic.
The seemingly paradoxicalnatureof these reportsmust be understood within the context of the major geopolitical realignments that occurredafter WorldWarI. The collapse of the Ottoman Empireand the emergenceof the Mandatesystem, while not
explicitly recounted in the pages of Jus Suffragii,nevertheless
influencedthe tone of its coverageof the Middle East.Intendedto
preparethe people living in the FertileCrescentfor eventualindependence, the Mandate project,which was initiated under the
auspices of the League of Nations, placed GreatBritainin charge
of Iraq,Palestine,and Transjordan,
while Francereceivedcontrol
of Syria and Lebanon.In its twentieth-centuryincarnation,then,
Westernimperialismassumed a tutelarycapacity:its benevolent
mission was to teach formerlysubjectpeoples the Westernart of
self-government.The rise of nationalistmovements in the Middle
East-and the repressionwith which they were frequently metindicated the hollowness of its rationale,yet Europeandiplomats
and writerscontinuedto invoke its lofty terms.Wordslike "training" and "uplift"remained staples of imperialistrhetoric,which
found expressioneven in the IAWjournal.As the above example
demonstrates, the tension between feminism and orientalism
tended to resolve in favor of the formerin cases where "progress"
(i.e.,westernization)was evident.
Nevertheless, the journal's discourse surrounding Islam and
Middle Easternwomen remainedinconsistentas Westerncontributors continued both to indulge in and rebut common stereotypes. Overtly racist characterizations(such as one that called

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SyrianArabs"incurablylazy")"became less frequentas commentators increasingly focused on the "responsibilities"of Western


feminists toward their "lessadvanced"sisters. Reflectingthe ideology of the Mandate era, a 1929 piece on women in Syria and
Palestinespoke of the need for education,since "ignoranceand the
stiflinginfluenceof long traditioncan only be overcomeby trainIts authorencouragedAmericanand Europeing and example."45
an teachersto find work there,as "thewomen, bound by Moslem
tradition,need encouragementfrom the West to strengthenthem
to help themselves."And yet a few months later,a Western(most
likely British)observerof the women's movement in Iraq ended
her reportby concurringwith a noted Iraqipoet who arguedthat
"Islamwas intended to bring woman her charterof freedom,not
her sentence of perpetualconfinement,and that seclusion is not
of Arab,but of foreignorigin.146
Hostility to Islam thus did not always figure in Westernfeminist reportage on the Middle East. Moreover, emphasis on the
East'sneed of guidance from the Westwas occasionallyoffset by
a growing awareness among some IAW members that feminist
concernswere not the same for all women. In 1935,respondingto
pressurefrom various women's organizations,the League of Nations called for a worldwide study on the status of women.47 In
turn,the allianceboard asked its affiliatesin nationswith colonial
possessions to submit informationthat would form the basis of a
study of the position of "native"women. Jus Suffragiithen ran a
condensed version of a reportsubmittedby GlenoreFiske Home
of the United States,who expressedstrong reservationsaboutthe
undertaking.She cautionedagainstemploying Westernstandards
to assess the welfareof non-Westernwomen and rejectedthe presumptuousnessimplicitin the IAW'sproposal."Insteadof stating
the problem as . . . 'Let us secure freedom for enslaved women,'"

she suggested that a more appropriate formulation would be


"'Letus try to learnhow to retainto native peoples their own culturalheritagesas they come in contactwith Westernculture.'"As
if to underscorethe point, Home then concluded that a study of
"women of native groups under the jurisdiction of the United
States"would be fruitlessbecause they lived in "entirelydifferent
culturaleras"and had "entirely
differentlife-problems."48
Horne's report, as well as the editorial comment that introduced it ("Thefollowing extracts seem calculated to help clear our

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minds on the questionof how we can set about giving useful considerationto a question which is a vital one"),signified an effort
to confront-ifnot necessarilyto resolve-the contradictionsposed
by a Western-ledmovement for internationalfemale solidarity.
For at least some Westernfeminists,the convictionthat all women experienceoppressionbased on their sex matteredmore than
the particularforms that oppressionmight take. In fact, a resolution proposed at the alliance's 1935 Congress in Istanbul had
seemingly confirmedthis principleby pledging supportfor Western women "who are in danger of losing" their recently won
rights and Eastern women who fought "forthe eradication of
their special legal, social, and economic disabilities.. . . .49 Although the specificsof women's struggle against patriarchydiffered accordingto local conditions,in a largerand more abstract
sense the struggle was everywhere the same. The universalist
ethos of IAW feminism posited that women around the world
could indeed unite in common cause, and the very fact that nonWesternwomen eagerlyembracedthe organizationtestifiedto its
strongappeal.
Still, the mitigating effects of feminism on orientalistthinking
must not be overstated.Despite its occasionalacknowledgmentof
the inapplicabilityof "Western"
solutions to "Eastern"
problems,
the IAW continued to uphold the example of Westernfeminist
movements as the archetypalexpressionof feminism.Indeed, the
growing regularitywith which Muslim women were describedas
"ignorant"or "tradition-bound"
suggests that as Westernwomen
attained more of their own feminist objectives (beginning with
Alsuffrage),the "East"came to appearincreasingly"backward."
did
not
blame
Islam
for
that
state
of
though they
necessarily
affairs, the writers nevertheless seemed to expect that Muslim
women's "liberation"
could be achieved only by abandoninginIn
other
words, Westernfeminists never considdigenous ways.
ered that feminism in the Middle East might take an alternate
route, using Islam as its guide.50Although they perhaps recognized that Islam had been "misinterpreted"
by male authorities,
that recognitiondid not extend to acceptinga reinterpretationof
Islam as a legitimateframeworkfor feministmovements.
Accordingly, Western feminists attached ever-greatersignificanceto the veil as a symbol of "tradition"
holding Muslimwomen
back. Whereas Carrie Chapman Catt dismissed the veil in 1912 as

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an "unimportantsymptom"of Muslim women's general condition, her successorsgave its abolitionprimaryemphasis.Throughout the 1930san 1940s,JusSuffragii's
reportsfromIAWtripsto the
Middle East,as well as its coverageof Arab feministconferences,
were filled with references to veiling.51The British suffragist
MargeryCorbettAshby,who had succeeded Catt as presidentin
1923, noted that women in Lebanonwere "stillhandicappedby
the custom of going veiled and in that respect are behind the
moslem ladies we had met in Egypt and India,where the drive of
the nationalistmovement has educated the men folk into greater
common sense."52 In 1947, IAW President Hanna Rydh would
take an even more adamantstance.After meeting with members
of the IraqiWomen'sUnion, she was convinced that a movement
for women's civil and political rights would soon flower. Unveiling, however, constituteda necessaryfirst step: "Butfirst and
foremostthey must help their sisters out of the veil. It can never
be repeatedtoo often that the veil is no mere fashion, it is a wall
which materiallyand spirituallyis debarringits bearerfrom the
developing intercourseand opportunityto co-operationwith the
men in a world cryingfor co-operation."53
Paradoxically,Westernobservers'growing preoccupationwith
the veil occurredsimultaneouslywith their growing sensitivityto
charges of ethnocentrism.Hanna Rydh in fact felt compelled to
defend the alliance for assuming that Europeanwomen had the
right to advise "the women of the Orient."She did so on the
grounds that industrializationand its social concomitantswere
coming inexorablyto the East:Since "thepeoples of the Orientare
feeling inclinedto take partin the advantagesof the industrialism
... we women of the West cannot say we should not interfere in

the way of life of our Easternsisters, because we know how industrialisationis changing the lives of women."' For Rydh, then,
the veil representedless a mark of degradationimposed by a repressive religion than a practicalimpediment to modernization
(which she equated implicitly with progress).She saw its abolition as a prerequisite to Muslim women's participation in the
public world of wage laborand politics.
By commenting on the veil in their meetings with Muslim
women, and writing about it in a journalthat Muslim feminists
read, Western feminists interposed themselves in a highly charged
debate that had been raging for years in some Middle Eastern

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countries.At issue here is not the position takenby Muslim feminists themselves in that debate but, rather,the extent to which it
was influencedby theirWesterncounterparts.As numerousscholars have shown, veiling has long been a contentious topic in Islamic societies,and its politicalmeaninghas varied over time.55To
early reformerswho advocated its abolition,it signified women's
relegationto the private sphere and their exclusion from public
life. To others, it representedthe preservationof female modesty
and was seen to affordwomen some protectionfrom male lechery. More recently,veiling has come to symbolize resistance to
Westernimperialism-and as such, has been advocated both by
religiousfundamentalistsand some Muslim feminists."
Muslim feminists,however, have never spoken with one voice
on the subject,nor have they necessarilyeven made an issue of it.
In Egypt, for example, although the Egyptian Feminist Union
(EFU)had worked for an end to the harem system and women's
exclusion from the public sphere (the dramaticgesture by Huda
Sha'rawiand Saiza Nabarawiof removingtheir veils at the Cairo
train station upon their return from the 1923 IAW'sRome Congress was seen as a public articulationof that goal, and likely contributed to Westernobsession with the issue), the organization
never advocatedunveiling as part of its formalagenda. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, as Egyptian feminists sought greater
social, political, and economic opportunities,they decided individually whether nor not to unveil. (In Turkeyand Iran, on the
otherhand, this questionwas decided by the state,which encouraged and imposed, respectively,unveiling as part of each counIndeed, it is telling that four out
try's modernizationprogram.)"7
of five articlessubmitted to Jus Suffragiiby Arab women on the
status of women in their own countriesincluded no referenceto
the veil.58Instead, these writers commented on issues that concerned them most, such as women's access to education,changes
in personal status law, and social welfare. Moreover,they occasionally expressed impatiencewith the way they were perceived
by their Western counterparts. In "AGreeting from the Arab
Women,"Mme. El Khoury (a Christian) sought to dispel the
"haremlegend,"noting:"BothArabtraditionsand Islamiclaw are
and always have been, againstthe seclusionof women.""
Sensitiveto Westernstereotypesthat denigratedMiddle eastern
culture,this authoraimed to rebutthe impressionof Arabwomen

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as uniquely oppressed, emphasizing their long history as useful


and contributingmembers of society. But for Westernfeminists
who equated women's status with their public visibility,the veil
remaineda troublingindicatorof social inequality.And by establishing its abolitionas an essentialconditionfor women's emancipation, they may unwittinglyhave stifled the growth of feminism
within Muslim societies. As Leila Ahmed has demonstrated,the
present discourse surrounding the veil has its origins in the
British colonial narrative of the late nineteenth century, which
pointed to veiling as the preeminentsymbol of the inferiorityof
Islamic culture.In proclaimingIslam to be monstrously oppressive of women-as evidenced by the veil-colonialistmen used the
language of feminismto justifytheirimperialism.6
As a result,the veil took on new significancefor Muslim women and men, leading them to defend or oppose the practice in
terms that suggested that the debate was really about the preservation of Islamitself. Thatveiling became freightedwith so much
symbolic meaning had unfortunateconsequencesfor the cause of
internationalfeminist solidarity.Because colonialists used feminist rhetoricto undermine indigenous traditions,feminism itself
The stanceof IAW
became suspect in the eyes of many Muslims.61
feminists did little to counteract that suspicion: although they
were carefulnot to disparageIslam, their insistencethat Muslim
women needed to "befreed from"theirveils perpetuatedthe discourse of colonialism.Ironically,their desire to "bring"feminism
to the Middle Eastlikely hurt ratherthanhelped Muslimwomen.
NATIONALISMAND THE QUESTIONOF PALESTINE
Although present-day attention to veiling by journalists and
polemicists alike might lead us to think otherwise,that issue was
not the only-or even the most important-oneto divide Western
and Middle Easternfeminists. As we have seen, Westernmembers of the LAWevinced contradictoryattitudes toward Middle
Easternwomen, but unmitigatedhostilityto Islamwas rarelyone
of them. Insofaras it tempered Westernethnocentrism,the universalist ethos of their feminism retained powerful appeal for
non-Western activists. Conversely, when the tension between
feminism and orientalism could not be sustained, relationships
between Westernand Middle Easternfeministsbecame strained.

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145

The issue that brought them to the breakingpoint, however, was


not veiling but the rise of Arabnationalism.
During the 1920s and 1930s, Arab women throughout the
Middle Eastbegan to organize and demonstratepublicly around
the Palestiniannationalistcause. Theiractivism constituteda key
element in the emergence of organized Arab feminism.62In her
analysis of the constructionof internationalismwithin transnational women's organizations,LeilaJ. Rupp writes that, for women from countriesrecentlyfreed (or seeking freedom)fromimperial domination,"nationalliberationwas a prerequisitefor internationalism, a view that women from long-established and often
In part, the diffiimperialistnations found hard to understand."63
that
had
in
Western
women
culty
understanding this may be
ascribedto the temporaldistancebetween nationalindependence
and the rise of feminist movements in their own countries.Women from countrieswith secure national identities could afford to
separatefeminist politics from nationalistpolitics and frequently
misread the nationalist activism of "ThirdWorld"women-for
whom the distinction was not so easy-as a betrayal of internationalist feminism. Although the relativelynarrow conceptionof
what counted as "feminism"among IAWmembers no doubt encouragedsuch a view, so too did persistentideas about the "backwardness"of colonized peoples.
The clash between imperialism and nationalism finally
exposed the limits of international sisterhood. Despite their
claims of solidarity with "Eastern"women on the basis of common oppression,Westernfeminists rarelyconsideredthemselves
to be equally oppressed. Nor did they question the conviction
that "Eastern"
women needed their guidance. These assumptions
led them initially to support Zionist settlementas a harbingerof
progress in Palestine-supportthat Arabwomen would later contest. The IAW'ssubsequent equivocationon the issue ultimately
persuaded Arab feminists that membershipwithin the organization would no longer serve their interests,and it helped create a
rift within the internationalwomen's movement that persists to
this day.
Upon her returnfroma trip to Egypt and Palestinein 1921,British
suffrage leader and former alliance vice-president Millicent

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GarrettFawcett was interviewed by Jus Suffragiiabout the progress of the women'smovement.She had littleto reporton Egyptaccording to the article, Fawcett learned through conversations
with two prominentEgyptianwomen that "awomen's emancipation movement, such as we know it here, is not yet organized.
The movements that exist are directedto the bettermentof social
conditions,the spread of education.But where the desire for education exists the desire for equality of opportunity follows, and
from the present social movement in Egypt an emancipation
movementwill surely spring.""64
The piece suggested that Egyptianwomen had thus farworked
of social conditions"-itmakes no menonly for the '"betterment
tion of any overt political activity.Yet a number of upper- and
middle-class women were actively involved at this time in the
Wafd movement, Egypt's nationalist struggle, including Huda
Sha'rawi,who later became an IAW board member.As Margot
Badranhas argued,the participationof these women in the Wafd
movement led directly to the formationof Egypt's first feminist
organizationin 1923. After Egypt gained independence in 1922,
nationalistwomen found their expectationsfor a political voice
dashed by an election law that restrictedsuffrageto men. Feeling
betrayed by their male Wafd colleagues, they would continue
their quest for national liberation-aswell as for women's social
and economic rights-within the frameworkof the independent
EFU.65
In the 1930sand 1940s,the EFUassumed a key role in defining
pan-Arabfeminism, which centered around the Palestiniannationalist movement. As early as 1920, PalestinianArab women
had mobilized to protestboth the BritishMandateand the Zionist
project;by 1929, Arab women's unions had been established in
Palestine,Lebanon,and Syria (the Palestinianand Syrianunions
affiliatedwith the IAW in 1935). In October 1938, Sha'rawiand
the EFU sponsored the EasternWomen'sConferencefor the Defense of Palestinein Cairo (which included representativesfrom
five Arab countries as well as from Iran), and Sha'rawiwould
become the leading spokesperson for the Palestinian cause at
internationalfeminist meetings. Egyptianfeminists also took the
lead in uniting feministorganizationsfromindividualArabcountries:a 1944Arab FeministCongressresulted in the formationof
the ArabFeministUnion (AFU),an umbrellagroup that sought to

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147

strengthenindividual feminist movements and to promote a collective Arab feminist vision within the international women's
movement."6
Arab feminism,then, must be understoodwithin the contextof
Arab nationalism. As Badran put it, pan-Arab feminists were
responding"tothe challengeof constructingcitizenshipin modem
Arab states as independent countries in a postcolonial world."67
They linked their own emancipation to the broader project of
emancipatingthe Arab world from imperialist domination. But
the narrowly conceived feminist program of the IAW left little
room for an analysis of that connection by the organization's
Europeanand Americanmembers.
If Fawcetthad failed during her visit to notice that a women's
movement "suchas we know it here"was alreadyunder way in
Egypt in 1921, her views on Palestine are even more revealing.
Thereshe met with Rosa Welt-Straussand other membersof the
PalestinianJewish Women'sEqualRights Association(PJWERA),
a Zionist group working to secure political,social, and economic
equalityfor Jewishwomen under the BritishMandate.JusSuffragii
noted that she was suitably impressed by their organization:
"Greatis the contrastbetween these progressivewomen and the
unorganized, inarticulate, little-educated Moslem women of
Palestine.Who is to lead these, who is to work for them and help
them to work for themselves?Mrs. Fawcett feels that it is to the
organized Jewish women that these others must look for their
firsthelp towardself-help."68
The articleconcludedwith a word of
the
for
work
of
the
PJWERAand an expression of hope
praise
that it "mayhelp the whole countryto a noble end."
That Fawcett considered Zionist women to be agents of progress in Palestine is not surprising. Carrie Chapman Catt had
expressed a similar opinion ten years earlier.Both women undoubtedly found EuropeanJewishimmigrantsto be more culturally familiar than indigenous Arabs, whether Muslim or Christian. What is unclear from the article is whether Fawcett was
aware that PalestinianArab women had alreadybegun to organize on a nationalistbasis-the PalestineWomen'sUnion had been
establishedin 1920.69Had she known of its existence, she might
not have been as sanguine about the prospects for a Jewish-led,
interfaith feminist movement. In any case, her presumption that
Arab women needed "encouragement" from the West probably

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would not have disposed her to supporttheirresistanceto Zionist


settlement.
Throughoutthe 1930s,Westernobserverstended eitherto overlook or to criticizethe importanceof nationalismto Arabwomen.
In a briefreportsubmittedto JusSuffragiion the 1929conveningof
an Arab women's congress that brought Muslim and Christian
women together, Rosa Welt-Strauss,president of the PJWERA,
commentedthat "theConferencemarksa decided improvementin
the status of Arab women in this country,and especially of the
Moslem women who have hithertobeen rigorously confined to
the harems."'7
Yetshe included no referenceto the very purposeof
the congress,which had been called to pass resolutionsprotesting
Zionist immigrationand Britishpolicies in Palestine (these were
laterpresentedto the Britishhigh commissionerby a delegationof
Arabwomen).7 Of course,as a memberof a Zionistorganization,
Straussundoubtedlyhad reason to downplay the significanceof
the event;nevertheless,thatthe newsjournalranthe piece without
an editorialintroductionor commentis surelytelling.
In part, the IAW's reticence on the subject stemmed from a
bylaw introducedin 1908,which pledged the allianceto observe
"absoluteneutrality on all questions that are strictly national."72
This resolution reflected the organization's commitment to a
vision of internationalsisterhood that, ideally, would transcend
troubling relationshipsamong differentnations. But that vision
could be sustained only by ignoring the forces responsible for
such relationships,especially those connected with colonialism.
Moreover,the unwillingness of Westernfeministsto confrontthe
realityof vast inequalityamong nationswas grounded-atleast in
part-in the fundamentalorientalistassumptionof Westernsuperiority,an assumption that ultimately implicated Westernfeminists in the imperialistprojectsof theirhome countries.The previously quoted 1929articleon the women's movement in Iraqnicely capturedthe contradictionsembedded in the IAW'svision of
internationalsisterhood.The author,who acknowledged that "Islam was intended to bring woman her charterof freedom,"did
not questionthe leadershiprole of Westernfeminists:
In Syria a certain section of the feminists are decidedly anti-foreign in tone. The
more clear-sighted among the women see that it would be fatal for the movement to be committed to any political creed. They realise that feminism in the
East can only gain strength by making common cause with feminism all over

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149

the world, independent of race or creed, and especially to the women of


England and America, who have fought and gained their battle, they look for
encouragement and practical assistance. In such a cause as this there can be no
petty feelings of national jealousy or hatred, and it would be a fine gesture if
the women of England were to think out some way of aiding the women of
Iraq in the task which they have set themselves.73

According to this presumably Britishwriter,women from colonized countriesneeded to leave nationalismaside in the greater
interest of international feminist solidarity. If that expectation
reflected in some ways the noble ideal of women united across
nationalboundaries,it also suggested a distrustof nationalismfor
the threatit posed to Westerndominance.In fact, the air of defensiveness contained here indicates the predicamentof Britishimperialists who, despite sincere beliefs that they were providing
useful "service"to Middle Easternpeoples, encounteredgrowing
hostility to their presence and influence in the region during the
interwarperiod.74
The unquestioned assumption that Western leadership was
natural as well as just resulted in characterizations of Arab
women as somehow "too"nationalistin outlook, while obscuring
the nationalistdimension of Zionist feminism.Such thinkingwas
manifest in Margery Corbett Ashby's impressions of Palestine
during her visit there in 1935. Tensionsbetween Arabs and Jews
were quite high by this time, a situation that did not escape
Ashby's notice. Having met separatelywith members from both
the PJWERAand the Arab Women's Union, she lamented that
"thepresent political situation seems to make it impossible for
Arab and Jewish women to work together."Reflectingon what
this portended for the growth of feminism in the region, she
added that Arab women were "too absorbed in the nationalist
movement to have time or energy to spare for their own rights or
for social and educationalimprovements,"while PJWERA"finds
all of its demands for bettersocial legislationand for such reforms
as the abolitionof child marriageset on one side on the plea that
the Associationonly representsone section of the community."'
WhereasAshby clearly saw the Jewish women's associationas
advancingthe feministcause, the very existenceof an ArabWomen's Union was apparentlyunremarkable.That the mobilization
of Arab women around the nationalistcause might in itself constitute a feminist advance likely did not occur to her. Nor, evidently, did Ashby consider the women of the PJWERAto be similarly

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engaged in a nationalistmovement.Becausetheir activitiesin the


realm of social reformcomportedwith her conceptionof feminist
progress,she may well have found it easierthan eitherPalestinian
Arabsor BritishMandateauthoritiesto ignorethe politicalramificationsof such efforts.PJWERA's"demandsfor bettersocial legislation,"while seemingly neutralon their face, can be viewed as a
form of nation building, and thus enmeshed in the politicalconflict between Arabs and Jews. In Palestine, the neat distinction
drawnby the IAWbetween feminismand nationalismwas largely
artificial.For Ashby and her colleagues who visited during the
interwarperiod, to profess support for PJWERAwhile observing
"absoluteneutrality"was essentiallya contradiction.
Just as they avoided the connection between feminism and
nationalismimplicit in the activitiesof Jewish women, the IAW's
leaders overlooked the fact that Arab women organizing and
demonstratingpublicly in defense of Palestinemarkedan important stage in their political development. Indeed, Jus Suffragii
reportedon the 1938 EasternWomen'sConferencein Defense of
Palestinein Cairo(an event which broughttogetherwomen from
several different Middle East countries) with suprisingly little
comment,except to stipulatethat the IAWcould not express any
opinion due to its "standingposition of neutralityon all national
It did, however, note that the conference'sattendees
questions."76
were unveiled. Thus in an ironictwist, Westernfeministsassessed
the feminism of Arab women not in terms of their active participation in politicallife but on the basis of theirdress.
During the late 1930s and 1940s, as the future of Palestinebecame the focal point of pan-Arabfeminism,Arabmembersof the
IAW grew increasingly disenchanted with the organization's
response to the issue. At the 1939 Congress in Copenhagen,the
Egyptian feminist Huda Sha'rawi nearly resigned her board
membershipwhen it appearedthat the delegateswere more sympathetic to the concernsof Zionist women than to those of Arab
women. Although she was persuaded to retainher position, the
limits of internationalsisterhoodhad been exposed;her successor
as the EFU'srepresentativein the IAW,Saiza Nabarawi, would
later find it impossible to work for Arab feminism within the
organization.7
In the end, orientalism exerted a more powerful hold on Western members of the IAW than their feminism could temper. Their

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151

of Arab women prevented


belief in the essential "backwardness"
them from acknowledgingthe threatto theirintereststhat Zionist
settlement portended. More to the point, that belief led them to
view Arab women as overly nationalistand insufficientlyfeminist and to praise the relative"progressiveness"
of Jewishwomen.
it
be
that
the
cannot
claimed
Zionist
IAW
supported
Although
a
the
for
the
considered
state,
Jewish
hopes
organization
presence
of Europeanwomen (or women of Europeandescent)in Palestine
to be a sign of improvement-a fact not lost upon Arab women.
Thus, despite sincere wishes to "uplift"their Middle East sisters,
Westernfeministssucceededonly in alienatingthem.
CONCLUSION
This examinationof the intersectionof feminism and orientalism
within the FirstWave internationalwomen's movement reveals a
tension that the term "feministorientalism"-atleast as it has been
commonly used-inadequately describes.Westernfeminists were
not free from ethnocentric assumptions of their own cultural
superiority,but neitherwere they as hostile to Islam as some critics of orientalismmight suppose. Indeed, their feminismenabled
Westernwomen to challenge some fundamentaltenets of orientalism in importantways. Perhapsmost significantly,it led them
to recognize that maleauthoritywas the common denominatorin
women's oppressionacrossthe globe. Thatinsight allowed them,
in some instances,to distinguish between actualIslamicprescription and mere custom-a distinctionthat was (and is still) notoriously lackingin popularWesternimages of Islam.Although most
European and North American members of the IAW stopped
short of recognizingfeministpotentialwithinIslam,theirassumption that women around the world were united by patriarchal
oppression permitted them a certain measure of identification
with Muslim women that transcendedthe orientalistdistinction
between Westand East.
Ultimately,however,the legacy of orientalismproved too powerfulto overcome.Despite theirsympathyfor and occasionalidentification with their Middle Eastern sisters, Western feminists
never regardedthem as equals.The "East"remained,in theirview,
less modem, less rational,and less civilized than the "West."Accordingly,the Europeanand North Americanleaders of the IAW
envisioned only one model for feministmovements,and they saw

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152

Charlotte Weber

themselves as its naturalvanguard,bringing aid and enlightenment to their more "oppressed"sisters.Certainof their own comparative freedom, they neglected the opportunity to reevaluate
their own oppressionthat actualexposureto Islamicsocietieshad
afforded an earlier generationof female travelersto the Middle
East. Moreover,their unwavering convictionthat they had nothing to learnfrom (and everythingto teach)MiddleEasternwomen
blinded Westernfeministsto the possibilityof alternatebases for,
and expressionsof, feminism in culturesunlike their own. Thus,
by reassuringWesternwomen thatperhapsthey did not have it so
bad afterall, feministorientalismnot only forestalledthe development of a more radicalcritiqueof Westernpatriarchybut prevented an expandeddefinitionof feminismas well.
Finally, despite the IAW's conviction that female solidarity
would transcend national and cultural differences,its vision of
"globalsisterhood"proved sadly naive. The failure of its leaders
to acknowledge the rise of Arab nationalism as a response to
Westernimperialism,combinedwith their assumptionsabout the
of Middle East societies, led the IAWto equivo'"backwardness"
cate over the questionof Palestine.Its earlyhopes that (European)
Zionistwomen would "uplift"theirArabsistersignored the reality of Arab/Jewish tension. More significantly,those hopes obscured the nascent feminism of Arab women (both Muslim and
Christian),who were mobilizing increasinglyagainst Zionist settlement.In these ways, orientalismserved to subvertthe idealistic
goals of the internationalwomen's movement, sowing the seeds
of disunity thatplague us today.
NOTES
I would like to thank Susan M. Hartmann, Jane Hathaway, Leila J. Rupp, and the two
anonymous reviewers for Feminst Studies for their helpful comments.
1. Leila Ahmed, "Western Ethnocentrism and Perceptions of the Harem," Feminist
Studies 8 (fall 1982): 526.
2. See Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1979), for an explication of
orientalism as a "Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over
the Orient" (71). Other works that focus specifically on European representations of
Middle East women include Malek Alloula, The ColonialHarem (Minneapolis: University
of Minnesota Press, 1986); and Sarah Graham-Brown, Images of Women:The Portrayal of

Womenin Photography
of theMiddleEast,1860-1950(London:QuartetBooks,1988).
3. Billie Melman, Women'sOrients:EnglishWomenand theMiddleEast,1718-1918(Ann

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153

Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992); Reina Lewis, Gendering Orientalism: Race,
Femininity, and Representation(London and New York: Routledge, 1996).
4. Lewis, 4.
5. Melman, chap. 5.
6. Lewis, 171.
7. See Leila J. Rupp, Worldsof Women:The Making of an InternationalWomen's Movement
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997), chap. 6: "How Wide the Circle of the
Feminist 'We,'" (130-55) for a discussion of the varied approaches and rationales that
activist women (whether they claimed the term "feminist" or not) adopted in their
efforts to improve the situation of their sex internationally.
8. The IAW did not, however, add sections from Latin America, Asia, the Middle East
and Africa until after World War I. See Leila J. Rupp, "Challenging Imperialism in
International Women's Organizations, 1888-1945," NWSA Journal8 (1996): 8-27.
9. Given the variety of meanings attached to these terms in scholarly literature, some
clarification is in order. I use "feminism" in a broad sense to mean, in Nancy Cott's
words, "an integral tradition of protest against arbitrary male dominion." See her
"What's in a Name: The Limits of 'Social Feminism'; or, Expanding the Vocabulary of
Women's History," Journal of American History 76 (December 1989): 809. This definition
has the advantage of being capacious enough to include the myriad forms such protest
has taken across time and space. Other important works on defining feminism (and categorizing different expressions of feminism) include Nancy Cott, The Grounding of
Modern Feminism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987); Karen Offen, "Defining
Feminism: A Comparative Historical Approach," Signs 14 (autumn 1988): 119-57; and
Naomi Black, Social Feminism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1989).
Although some scholars use "imperialism" and "orientalism" interchangeably, I view
the latter as a corollary of the former. I use "imperialism" here to refer to the structural
(i.e., political and economic) components of one country's hegemony over another and
"orientalism" to describe the cultural representations produced by the dominant nation
that sustain the unequal relationship.
10. Joyce Zonana, "The Sultan and the Slave: Feminist Orientalism and the Structure of
Jane Eyre,"in Revising the Wordand the World, ed. Veve Clark et al. (Chicago: University

of Chicago Press, 1993). Zonana uses the term "feministorientalism"to designate a

Western feminist imagination that automatically equates polygyny with female sexual
slavery, and female seclusion with imprisonment.
11. Although Rupp examines cross-cultural dynamics within the international women's
movement, she does not explore in depth the issue of feminist orientalism.
12. Antoinette Burton, "The Feminist Quest for Identity: British Imperial Suffragism
and 'Global Sisterhood,' 1900-1915," Journal of Women's History 3, no. 2 (fall 1991): 3.
Important critiques of "imperial feminism" include Valerie Amos and Prathiba Pramar,
"Challenging Imperial Feminism," Feminist Review 17 (autumn 1984): 3-19; and Chandra
Mohanty, "Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourse," Feminist
Review 30 (autumn 1988): 61-87.
13. See Valerie Hoffman-Ladd, "Polemics on the Modesty and Segregation of Women in
Contemporary Egypt," InternationalJournalof Middle East Studies 19 (February 1987): 2350, for a penetrating analysis of these issues.
14. I am well aware that the designation "Middle East" is imprecise as well as politically
charged; nevertheless, it is too ingrained in common parlance to avoid. I use it here to
denote the geographic region that includes the present political states of Egypt, Sudan,
Lebanon, Syria, Israel and the Occupied Territories, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait,
Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen, Turkey, and Iran. Although
the category "Middle Eastern" includes a multiplicity of religions and ethnicities, the
cultural influence of Islam and Arab civilization extends throughout the region. As I
hope will become clear, I do not use the term to mean either "Muslim" or "Arab"but,

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rather, to suggest this basic fact.


15. The IAW's journal appeared mainly in English, with occasional pieces written in
French or German.
16. See especially Kumari Jayawardena, Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World
(London: Zed Books, 1986).
17. Margot Badran's article, "Dual Liberation: Feminism and Nationalism in Egypt,
1870s-1925," Feminist Issues 8 (spring 1988): 15-34, demonstrates the "dynamic interaction" between women's feminism and nationalism in Egypt and points to the folly of
viewing these two strands of women's activism separately. She argues "that these

and
women generateda constructof nationalismin whichwomen'sliberationwas embedded

fought concurrently as feminists and nationalists" (16). Her later work, Feminists, Islam,

and Nation:Genderand the Makingof ModernEgypt (Princeton:Princeton University


Press, 1995), discusses the leadership role of Egyptian feminists in the pan-Arab feminist movement.
18. Prior to World War I, Palestine (and the rest of the Arab Middle East) was part of
the Ottoman Empire. In the Balfour Declaration of 1917, the British government-which
had earlier and secretly promised to uphold Arab claims to independence in exchange
for their help in defeating the Turks-pledged its support for the creation of a Jewish
"national home" in Palestine. In 1920, the League of Nations legitimated British mandatory control over Palestine (including what is now Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, and
Jordan).
19. Lest I be misunderstood, let me say here that I do not equate Zionism with Western
imperialism. My point, rather, is that the response of Western feminists to the turmoil in
Palestine was influenced by imperialist modes of thinking.
20. Chrystal Macmillan, "The Future of the IWSA," Jus Suffragii 14 (February 1920),
quoted in Rupp, Worlds of Women, 23. See ibid., chap. 2: "Building an International
Movement," for an overview of the IWSA.
21. Annie Furuhjelm, "Our Alliance," Jus Suffragii 8 (1 May 1914), 99. This issue was
devoted to the IWSA's tenth anniversary.
22. Sheila Webster, "Harim and Hijab: Seclusive and Exclusive Aspects of Traditional
Muslim Dwelling and Dress," Women's Studies InternationalForum 7, no. 4 (1984): 256.
23. Although she did not submit any to Jus Suffragii, Aletta Jacobs regularly wrote articles for Dutch newspapers which were later reissued in a two-volume collection entitled
Reisbrievenuit Afrika en Azie (Travel letters from Africa and Asia). Harriet Feinberg has
analyzed Jacobs's letters from Egypt; see her article "A Pioneering Dutch Feminist
Views Egypt: Aletta Jacobs' Travel Letters," in Feminist Issues 10 (fall 1990): 65-78. In an
argument similar to my own, she distinguishes between two sorts of discourse that
Jacobs used in her writing about the Middle East, which she labels "encouraging our
peers" and "uplifting our native sisters." Feinberg concludes that Jacobs's feminism
helped to pull her discourse more in the direction of the former, in which "some basic
equality across cultural, national, and religious boundaries" is assumed (66).
24. Carrie Chapman Catt, speech at the New Jersey State Suffrage Convention, Newark,
13 Nov. 1913, reported in Woman'sJournal, 22 Nov. 1913, 371, quoted in Jacqueline Van
Voris, CarrieChapmanCatt:A Public Life (New York: The Feminist Press, 1987), 105.
25. The harem system in Muslim societies is designed to preserve social distance
between the sexes in both the public and private spheres. It is marked physically by
architectural features within family dwellings (the word harem-a derivation of an
Arabic word meaning "forbidden" or "holy"-refers both to the portion of a house occupied by female family members and to the women themselves) and socially by the custom of veiling (through which women maintained their seclusion in public). The seclusion of women was common in Mediterranean societies before the rise of Islam and
varies in degree and in kind throughout the Middle East. Historically, veiling and the
rigid seclusion of women was a sign of wealth, an indication that a man had sufficient

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"economic resources to safeguard the honor of his family by having servants to perform
the jobs delegated to women in poorer households." See Webster, 253. Although elite
and poorer women in urban areas wore the veil when venturing out in public, peasant
and nomadic women could not afford to have their movements so encumbered. For
more on the harem system, see Leila Ahmed, Womenand Gender in Islam (New Haven:
Yale University Press, 1992); Badran, Feminists, Islam, and Nation; and Fatima Mernissi,

BeyondtheVeil:Male-Female
Dynamicsin a ModernMuslimSociety,rev. ed. (Bloomington:
Indiana University Press, 1987). The latter provides an explanation of the gender ideology common to most Muslim societies, in which women's sexuality is perceived to be a
powerful, potentially chaotic force which must be restrained by strict sexual segregation.
26. Carrie Chapman Catt, "The Holy Land," Jus Suffragii6, no. 5 (15 Feb. 1912), 55.
27. Carrie Chapman Catt diary, Catt Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.,
reel 1, 6, 45-46.
28. Catt, "The Holy Land," 55.
29. Ibid. Catt's diary recounts in detail her visits with the female members of four
Muslim families but says little about her interaction with Christian or Jewish women.
30. Catt diary, 21-26.
31. Ibid., 26.
32. Veiling has long been a subject of contention in the debates between reformers and
traditionalists in many Middle East countries throughout the twentieth century. See
Webster for a discussion of the different ways in which Western feminists and Muslim
women have interpreted the veil. She argues that "customs of partitioning and veiling
are as exclusive of men as they are seclusive of women, and that women in purdah societies are not as passive and down-trodden as may be supposed by outsiders" (252) and
cites the opinion of many Arab women that the veil has been accorded disproportionate
significance by those who consider its abolition to be of primary importance in women's
emancipation See also Beth Baron, "Unveiling in Early Twentieth-Century Egypt:
Practical and Symbolic Considerations," Middle Eastern Studies 25 (July 1989): 370-86. For
an insightful analysis of how the colonial discourses of the West shaped the modem
debate over veiling within Muslim countries (and thereby set the terms for the veil's
reemergence as a symbol of resistance to Western domination), see Ahmed, Womenand

Genderin Islam,chap. 8.

33. Catt, "The Holy Land," 55.


34. Catt diary, 52.
35. Carrie Chapman Catt, "Egypt,"Jus Suffragii6, no. 8 (15 Apr. 1912).
36. See Melman. Her conclusion states: "Observation of women's life in another culture
brought on a re-evaluation, by the Western women, of their own position as individuals
and as a marginalised group in a patriarchal culture" (308).
37. "Call to the Seventh Conference of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance," Jus
Suffragii 7, no. 5 (15 Jan. 1913), 41.
38. The first women's organization from a Middle East country to affiliate with the IAW
was the Egyptian Feminist Union (founded and led by Huda Sha'rawi), which sent delegates to the 1923 Rome Congress. Arab Women's Unions from Palestine and Syria
joined later, in 1935.
39. Rupp, "Challenging Imperialism," 8; see also Badran, Feminists, Islam, and Nation,
chap. 5.
40. Rupp, "Constructing Internationalism: The Case of Transnational Women's
Organizations, 1888-1945,"AmericanHistorial Review 99 (December 1994): 1578-79.
41. The women were Egypt's Huda Sha'rawi and Uruguay's Paulina Luisi. Its nine officers, including Catt's successor Margery Corbett Ashby, were British and European.
The remaining eleven board members hailed from Great Britain, Europe, and the
United States.
42. "Women's Progress in Egypt," Jus Suffragii 9, no. 8 (1 May 1915): 282. The quotation

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referred to the life of an uneducated harem woman.


43. Arthur Field, "Women in Present-Day Turkey," Jus Suffragii 18, no. 1 (October 1923):
8-9.
44. A. Montgomery, "The I.L.O. Agricultural Settlements for Armenians," Jus Suffragii
18, no. 1 (October 1923): 68.
45. M. Darnley-Naylor, "Women of Syria and Palestine and the Need for Education,"
Jus Suffragii23, no. 5 (February 1929): 68.
46. E.S. Stevens, "The Woman Movement in Iraq," Jus Suffragii 24, no. 2 (November
1929):16.
47. Rupp, Worlds of Women, 220. The league appointed a Committee on Experts on the
Status of Women in 1938.
48. "Position of Women of Native Races,"Jus Suffragii29, no. 10 (July 1935): 96-7.
49. "Resolutions to be Presented in the Name of the Alliance Board,"Jus Suffragii29, no.
5 (April 1935): 35.
50. See Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam for a discussion of the expectation by
Western feminists that Muslim women's "advancement" must be based on the adoption
of Western culture. She also analyzes the appositional tendencies inherent in Islam
which have allowed Muslim feminists to articulate a feminism compatible with Islamic
precepts.
51. Rosa Welt-Strauss, "Arab Women in Congress," Jus Suffragii24, no. 4 (January 1930):
43; "Women's Conferences at Damascus and Bagdad," Jus Suffragii 27, no. 3 (December
1932): 17-18; Nancy Ronart, "Damascus Today: Women's New Freedom," Jus Suffragii
41, no. 4 (January 1947): 47; and L. Dorothy Potter, "Advances in Egypt," Jus Suffragii 44,
no. 2 (December 1949): 28-29.
52. Margery Corbett Ashby, "An International Pilgrimage," Jus Suffragii29, no. 6 (March
1935): 44.
53. Hanna Rydh, "Amongst the Women of Iraq," Jus Suffragii 41, no. 12 (September
1947): 167.
54. Hanna Rydh, "Flight of the President," Jus Suffragii41, no. 12 (September 1947): 161.
55. See especially Hoffman-Ladd.
56. On veiling as a symbol of resistance, see especially Frantz Fanon, A Dying Colonialism, trans. Haakon Chevalier (New York: Grove Press, 1965).

57. Badran,Feminists,Islam,andNation,23.
58. Massara Kelani, "Extract from a Report on Syria Presented to the Mediterranean
Women's Conference," Jus Suffragii 26, no. 9 (June 1932): 105; Mme. El Khoury, "A
Greeting from the Arab Women," Jus Suffragii40, no. 6 (March 1946): 63; Huda Ghanma,
"Report from Transjordan," 114; and Dr. Haniha Amin Zaki, "Status of Women in Iraq,"
48, both in Jus Suffragii 43, no. 8 (June 1949). The fifth, a report on Egypt submitted by
Eva el Masri, indicated that unveiling had been a step forward for Egyptian women. It
appeared in Jus Suffragii32, nos. 1-2 (August-September 1938): 89.
59. El Khoury, 63.
60. Ahmed, Womenand Genderin Islam, chap. 5.
61. Ibid.
62. See Badran, Feminists, Islam, and Nation. My shift in emphasis here from "Muslim" to
"Arab"is meant to reflect the fact that both Muslims and Christians participated in the
construction of Arab nationalism and Arab feminism.
63. Rupp, "Constructing Internationalism," 1592.
64. "A Glimpse of Egypt and a Journey through Palestine: An Interview with Mrs.
Henry Fawcett, L.L.D.,"Jus Suffragii15, no. 9 (June 1921): 129.
65. Badran, "Dual Liberation," 28.
66. Badran, Feminists, Islam, and Nation, chap. 12.
67. Ibid., 239.
68. Jus Suffragii, 15, no. 9 (June 1921): 130.

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69. Badran,Feminists,Islam,andNation,224.
70. RosaWelt-Strauss,43.
71. Badran,Feminists,Islam,andNation,224.
72. Quoted in MinekeBosch,with AnnemarieKloosterman,eds., PoliticsandFriendship:
WomanSuffrageAlliance,1902-1942(Columbus:Ohio State
Lettersfrom the International
UniversityPress, 1985),17.
73. E.S.Stevens.
74. See Elizabeth Monroe, Britain'sMomentin the Middle East, 1914-1971 (London:
Chatto& Windus, 1981),for an accountof Britishpolicymakingin the Middle East during the twentieth century.The story presentedhere, which pays only cursoryattention
to indigenous perspectives,is one of a Great Power's inevitable decline in the face of
militantnationalism.
75. MargeryCorbettAshby, "AnInternationalPilgrimage,"JusSuffragii29, no. 6 (March
1935):43.
76. "Egypt,"
JusSuffragii33, no. 2 (November1938):12.
77. Badran,Feminists,Islam,andNation,234 -36, 249.

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