Feminism and Multiculturalism

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Feminism and multiculturalism is about diversity and, protecting the rights of women and the minority community in our society. It is not about division, and the direction, nor about isolation (NIMAC Report, 1999). Moreover it is about the equality of opportunities for all members of groups that participate in and benefit from economic and social lives. During this paper, I ask myself whether feminism can be genuinely multicultural. The difference between feminism and multiculturalism is the rights for minority cultures and the different concepts and conflicts which have risen. I will be discussing how the 20th century is accepting the movement for liberation of women, but is this enough to determine whether feminism is genuinely multicultural. Multiculturalism arose from the debates over the issues of discrimination and equality in 1973 in Canada. This was a time to draw attention to national unity and purpose. In 1960 and 1970 was the period where the concept of a family was effective in a diversity society. Multiculturalism concentrated on diversity as well as differences between what culture should be and, how it is respected for the society but as well as for the law and the democratic institutions. The migration period in Australia in the last fifty years, has ethnic, minority groups as well as a religious group’s clash with the moralities of equality. National Multicultural Advisory Council (1999), stated “Multiculturalism is built on an understanding of the complex processes of acceptance, mutual contribution and sharing that are needed for a culturally diverse society such as ours to function effectively and fairly.(NMAC 1999). Feminism is the acceptance of women in our society which should not be deprived due to their sex, instead women should be acknowledged as having human dignity and being equal as men of society. Many cultures are patriarchal and most cultural customs control their women and keep them isolated from the public sphere. Newcomers who have been migrated to Australia, especially women have experienced settlement difficulty due to the language barrier, traditional expectations, torture trauma, and the failure to understand the range of services available to personal safety. Women have faced in society challenging feminist notions. Susan Okin a liberal feminist observed multiculturalism as an uninvited policy for emancipation. Okin explains that “those within whatever minority cultural or religious groups are claiming group rights as necessary to preserve their group values and ways of life”. (Avigail I. Eisenberg, Jeff Spinner-Halev 2005, p113). This lodged that multiculturalism does not pay attention to gender roles within cultures, which ignore gender inequality within minority groups. In multiculturalism policy in Australia, the policy complements the national characteristics of equality, the importance of economic and social benefits if diversity and the need to balance the rights and obligations of all people who live in Australia. This policy sees women as bearers and socializes of children, as Vista calls the ‘normalizing’ aspect of multiculturalism, or a place where women or men are. This could be liberating as it compensates for deprivation of language, homeland loss, by celebrating the two cultures in which migrants make themselves. Women who become citizens develop their own ways in dealing with problems or situations in society. These are complexities of identity for women migrants’ even when they are living in a multicultural society. This can be the cause of media, the pressure from families, or the challenges that women face, which seldom explored. Okin explains that cultures are more concerned with personal laws such as marriage, divorce and child custody. This means that minority cultures will have a greater impact on the lives of the women then on the men. Muslim women face a major issue in the veiling, which causes many difficulties and challenges. The veil is a visual marker of...
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