Seminars & Events

16 September 2019
Sjoerd Groenman building, Room C028

Seminar: Yasin Koc – Muslim-feminist identity integration

Can Muslim-feminist identity integration be a coping strategy to improve the low status of Muslim women? Evidence from Turkey


The relationship between discrimination and well-being for disadvantaged groups is well established. However, a rather subtle form of discrimination experience, namely lack of ordinary privileges, is also prevalent in the lives of disadvantaged group members. One example of lack of ordinary privilege would be that minimum or mis-representation in public life (e.g., White, straight, cis-gender TV characters but not enough of one’s own ethnic/religious/sexual ingroup). Accordingly, across two studies (one correlational, one experimental), we investigated the relationship between lack of ordinary privileges, overt discrimination, and well-being among a Turkish Muslim women sample. We found lack of ordinary privileges was stronger among hijabi women and that in turn predicted lower wellbeing (Study 1; N = 300). In Study 2 (N = 150), we manipulated ordinary privilege (as increasing or stable) and found positive effects of increasing ordinary privilege on well-being among hijabi women. But what are the best ways to consistently maintain the increase of ordinary privileges in disadvantaged group members’ lives? Perhaps, one possible way for Muslim women could be to use Muslim-feminist identity integration as a coping mechanism to improve their low status and increase their representation in public life.  Although today an increasing number of Muslim women identify themselves as both Muslim and feminist at the same time, these identities are often perceived incompatible by Muslim and non-Muslim groups. Muslim feminist women might hence experience conflict endorsing these social identities. Accordingly, we were interested in examining the factors that might reduce this conflict and predict integration of Muslim and feminist identities among Muslim women. For this, we adapted the bicultural identity integration framework and examined the factors that predict this integration among Muslim women in Turkey. In Study 3 (N = 285), we found that religiosity was not significantly related to Muslim-feminist identity integration, whereas positive attitude towards feminism and higher familiarity with other Muslim feminist women predicted higher identity integration. In Study 4 (N = 307), we manipulated the content of the feminist message (by including Islamic or secular references to feminism) while controlling for prior familiarity with other Muslim feminist women.  We found a significant interaction in which Islamic content increased Muslim-feminist identity integration for only those who had low familiarity with other Muslim feminists. Most importantly, Muslim-feminist identity integration predicted higher collective action intentions across both studies. Overall, these findings provide novel theoretical advancements in identity integration and social change, and useful insights for NGOs trying to mobilize Muslim women to improve their disadvantage status.

Yasin Koc, Department of Social Psychology, University of Groningen, Netherlands