Freedom of Choice and Women empowerment

September 21, 2016: Press Café – Democracy in the 21st Century

I had the pleasure of leading a discussion on freedom of choice and women empowerment at Press Club Brussels, an event organized by the Institute of Strategic Communication.

I’m usually sitting among the audience, carefully listening to many interesting speakers, experts, activits and enthusiasts. This evening, as a European citizen, a woman, but also as a Muslim, I joined the speakers’ panel so I could share my personal experience and insights on democracy, but more specifically freedom of choice and women empowerment in Europe.

Feedback part

I met amazing women, and men, everyone giving their opinion on Muslim women, especially the media coverage they’re given. We then raised the question of personal choices and the limits a government has as it comes to ruling.We talked about the burkini ban, and to some extend about outer religious signs and appearences in public spaces.

What I particularly appreciated was the concern everyone had to get to know about others’ views, and especially mine as a Muslim woman. I presented myself and explained why I was standing there and talking about…me.

“We need to hear more from Muslim women themselves -about themselves- actually”, I was said. And that was exactly why I was there… Needless to tell you how happy and excited I was to speak out and share with people from a variety of backgrounds. What this world really needs is building more and more bridges, and connecting people so the barriers of fear and ignorance are broken, especially in this particular socio-economic context (anti TTIP and CETA demonstration just took place in Brussels the day before this event) where we can feel so many tensions…

What I saw and learned during this evening is that everyone is selling democracy in different ways. One brilliant lady said “It’s not about you, it’s about the others. Democracy is about perceptions on how my choice affect others.”

Democracy we have today is evolving like society is in constant change. What about mentalities?



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