Gender Questions

    About Fikrun

    Fikrun wa Fann was a cultural magazine published by the Goethe Institute from 1963 to 2016 that supported and shaped the cultural exchange between Germany and Islamic countries. Together with the publishing of the last issue, “Flight and Displacement” (issue 105), in autumn of 2016 the maintenance and updating of this online portal was ceased.
    Pascale Marthine Tayou, Colonial Erection, 2010 (Detail). From the exhibition: Who Knows Tomorrow. Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin. © Stefan Weidner

    How I Killed Scheherazade
    An Arab Woman Redefining Her Womanhood

    Women in the Arab world are rebelling not only against male oppression, but also against the image of Arab women propagated in the West. Joumana Haddad outlines her interpretation of contemporary gender roles in the Arab-Muslim world. By Joumana HaddadMore ...
    Yinka Shonibare MBE, Colonel Tarleton and Mrs. Oswald Shooting. From the exhibition: Who Knows Tomorrow. Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin. © Stefan Weidner

    Gender Role or Religion?
    Why I as a Muslim Woman Don’t Wear a Headscarf

    Gender and religion overlap in the controversy over the wearing of headscarves. It becomes apparent that attitudes reveal more about women’s self-image than about religiosity. By Lamya KaddorMore ...
    Street in Jidda, 1921. © T.E. Lawrence

    Who Is Hidden beneath the Burqa?
    An Appeal to the West

    The West seems to have forgotten that it helped bring about the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. Today emancipated Arab women find themselves caught between the rock of the burqa and the hard place of Western disparagement of Muslims. By Sahar KhalifaMore ...
    Islamic Fashion © Zeynap

    Fashionable, Yet Recognisably Islamic
    A New Sartorial Presence in Europe

    During the last few decades there has been considerable debate in the media about Muslim women wearing headscarves. Far less attention has been paid to the particular styles of Islamic dress young Muslim women wear in everyday life. By Annelies MoorsMore ...
    Young women praying in the rain in a camp. © Susanne Schröter

    Women as Agents of Social Change?
    Gender and Social Transformation in South-East Asia

    Women are reputed to be the catalysts and engines of positive social and political change. Microcredits in women’s hands are seen as an effective means of combating poverty; the integration of women in the process of conflict regulation is regarded as a guarantee of the successful consolidation of freedom. By Susanne Schröter, Monika Arnez, Kristina GrossmannMore ...
    Cover of one of the WLUML publications © WLUML

    Women Living Under Muslim Laws
    What’s In a Name?

    Of all the many organisations that campaign for women’s rights, the London-based WLUML stands out. Nouria Ali-Tani, who worked with WLUML for a time, presents the organisation and outlines its philosophy. By Nouria Ali-TaniMore ...
    Ceramic from the exhibition 'Die Aura des Alif', Völkerkunde Museum München

    Loathed by Some, Revered by Others
    Ibn al-Jawzi: An Antiquated View of the Sexes

    Ibn al-Jawzi’s Book of Rules for Women is one of the most significant classics about the roles of the sexes in the Arab world. It is also one of the most controversial. By Hannelies KoloskaMore ...
    Pascale Marthine Tayou, Colonial Erection, 2010 (Detail). From the exhibition: Who Knows Tomorrow. Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin. © Stefan Weidner

    Solidarity or Patronisation?
    The ‘Other’ Woman in the Feminist Gaze

    Even for the first Western women to travel the Orient in the nineteenth century, the Islamic veil was a controversial subject. However, the feminists’ judgements rarely had to do with Oriental women as they really were, but rather with women’s self-image and the struggle for emancipation in the West. By Christina von Braun and Bettina MathesMore ...
    Girls in an Islamic boarding school on Java. © Susanne Schröter

    The Emancipation of ‘the’ Muslim Woman
    Polarisation and Ambivalence in a Controversial Debate

    The polarisation between ‘Western’ emancipation and ‘Muslim’ oppression makes things more difficult, as far as the integration of Muslim women in the workplace and the debate about the more negative aspects of Western emancipation is concerned. By Birgit RommelspacherMore ...
    Gogi, the Guru, 1992. © Jürgen Frembgen

    The Third Gender in Pakistan:
    Dancers, Singers and Performers

    Pakistan is often seen as a strictly Islamic country, a Taliban refuge. Yet here, of all places, transsexuals are a visible presence and have achieved a certain degree of recognition. By Jürgen Wasim FrembgenMore ...
    Transsexual Pakistani Devia & Boby, 2006. © Jürgen Frembgen

    Denial of the ‘Third’ Sex
    Legal Regulation of Trans-Identity in Europe

    In December 2010 the Federal Government will, for the first time, present a report on the current situation regarding equality between women and men in Germany. However, no attention is devoted to what is known as the ‘third’ sex. By Anika GrabenhorstMore ...
    Prince Faisal 1917. Imperial War Museum. © Macrury

    The Recalcitrant Hero
    The Legend of Lawrence of Arabia

    As a personality, Thomas Edward Lawrence – born in Wales in 1888, the second son of an aristocrat and his daughters’ governess, and later known as Lawrence of Arabia – seems to have stepped straight out of the imaginative world of Nietzsche. By Stefan WeidnerMore ...
    Fuad Rifka at the German Orient Institute in Beirut © Stefan Weidner

    Poetry’s Advocate
    In Praise of Fuad Rifka, Recipient of the Goethe Medal

    On August 28th 2010, Fuad Rifka, the eighty-year-old Lebanese poet, received the Goethe Medal, presented by the Goethe Institute in recognition of all that he has contributed towards making German culture known in other countries. By More ...