Celebrate International Women’s Day differently

Today is International Women’s Day, marked around the world in many different ways.

It’s also the 100th anniversary of the start of the Russian Revolution – on 8 March 1917, female textile workers protested in Petrograd, forcing the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, and Russian women won the right to vote.


Cast a look on social media today and you’ll be inundated with photos, videos, memes, statistics, quotes and a host of other visuals commemorating women’s achievements through the ages, the further struggles that lie ahead, the reality of women’s oppression around the world today, or – sometimes – funny jokes. Many of these are informative, heart-breaking, inspiring and/or important to share.

But so many are mere platitudes, which illicit a response for all of five seconds before they’re gone from your mind. Like these ones, from Instagram and the official IWD page:





This will form the bulk of most people’s contributions today; a simple message (sometimes with grammatical errors) saying ‘Happy Women’s Day’, and a few cheerleader-esque platitudes, and fin.

Of course there’s nothing wrong with that, simply because that’s the way most of us mark a special day/holiday on social media. I wanted to take the chance today to write about what it means for me, and why some of the ways in which IWD is ‘celebrated’ make me uncomfortable.

First of all, a cursory glance at social media or at the many protests taking place globally today (check out #DayWithoutWomen on Twitter and Instagram for some truly powerful photos and symbols of resistance) will show you that most of those partaking are women. That’s antithetical to a movement as powerful as feminism.

Feminism is about equality, opportunity, choice and freedom.

That’s universal, so I don’t like to see that mostly women are sharing these posts, or wishing each other, or being the most visible participants.

However, that’s an issue of the feminist movement as a whole, not necessarily with today – but it’s one of the many glaring examples of where we need to ensure we’re a more inclusive movement. During the Budapest Women’s March in January for example, about 95% of those attending were women, despite the organisers being men from Greenpeace. What’s wrong with today, and with the movement, that it’s seen to involve or target women, rather than address fundamental issues about opportunity, freedom and justice?

Secondly, these platitudes. What do they say of our struggle to date, of the millions of women around the world who have given their lives, freedoms and rights so we’re allowed the rights we have today (and so I can blog about it right now?)

It feels cheap, somehow, to quote a Beyoncé song or post a tokenistic picture of super-heroines. If we’re going down the diversity route, where is the Maori Wonder Woman? Where’s the tall, fat woman? Where’s the Native American, the south Asian, the hijab-clad Muslim Wonder Woman?

Attempts to get shares on social media, or reblogs of zippy soundbites, are not what we need. We need today to be about more than that, and for an actual commitment from more than just women to the longer term causes.


My dad, one of the first real feminists in my life and a constant source of strength and inspiration (fine, I may be a little biased) shared a series of Tweets which perfectly encapsulates the day and how we ought to think more about our movement.



Third, I notice that people speak about women’s rights, opportunities and achievements only on this day. The struggle for equality and freedom is ongoing, and we can’t reserve all our activism, passion or anger for just one day. We should champion achievements, highlight the road ahead and speak about these issues constantly if we’re to make any impact.

We’ll post a picture, maybe share an article or two, and for the most part, I see so many people leave their activism there – it’s called clicktivism for a reason, and it’s not enough.

Image result for male feminist

So to that end, I’ve thought about ways we can make our dedication to the issues underlying today’s celebration more relevant and lasting – the easiest way is to donate to an organisation near you, volunteer time, arrange campaigns and join coalitions in your area. I’ve trawled the internet and my own database of resources, and here are some ideas for ways in which we can be of service to our global sisterhood beyond today.


CAF America shares this inspiring set of ways to educate yourself on the issues facing women, and the work done to combat it, here.

UN Women’s focus this year is ‘Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 505-50 by 2030.’ Read more about their campaign here, the events they’re hosting and the wealth of resources to support representation in the work place.

Women in the global workforce

Courtesy UN Women

Womankind UK shares this page of resources, with links to their global partners.

You can filter by geography, and learn more about the work of each of these incredible groups. Here are some examples:

Afghan Women Resource Centre (AWRC)

AWRC strives to help women improve their economic and social well-being and enables them to become active in decision-making processes. They encourage them to stand up for their rights and be active and confident members within their families and communities.

The Gender Studies and Human Rights Documentation Centre (Gender Centre)

The Gender Centre is committed to promoting and protecting the human rights of women. It works with both women’s groups and other organisations providing support and training in areas such as implementing women’s rights, project planning and campaigning. The Gender Centre was established in 1995 to make sure women’s rights were included in development programmes in Ghana.

WHR Nepal campaigners

Courtesy Womankind UK

Here are some excellent globally-focussed groups working on women’s empowerment, access rights, championing leadership and representation, or working towards equality and justice:


Women for Women International

A nonprofit that works with women who have experienced war, civil strife and other conflicts, providing them with the tools and resources to become financially independent and self-sufficient, WfWI was founded in 1993 and has helped more than 351,000 women through direct aid, rights education, job skills training and small business development. They currently operate in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Kosovo, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Sudan. Women for Women International offers a one year program that teaches job skills and business training to women in conflict, in addition to facilitating group therapy sessions for war survivors.


Every Mother Counts

An advocacy and mobilization campaign to reduce maternal mortality, which seeks to improve the health and well-being of women and girls worldwide by educating and supporting maternal mortality reduction. Hundreds of thousands of women die each year from pregnancy complications or childbirth difficulties, 90% of these deaths are preventable. No Woman, No Cry is a documentary by Christy Turlington that shares the stories of at-risk pregnant women from around the globe. The film spreads the message of the need for  resources and education to reduce maternal mortality. The nonprofit also collects old mobile phones to be donated to health care providers in rural areas to provide better communication and medical services.


The Association of Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)

The Association of Women’s Rights in Development is an international, feminist, membership organization committed to achieving gender equality, sustainable development and women’s human rights. AWID provides comprehensive information and analysis on women’s human rights and global issues.



Millions of people worldwide lack access to basic surgical care. Local doctors and resources are stretched thin to provide medical care on a large scale. To address this issue, Samahope enables supporters worldwide to fund these doctors through crowdfunding. Donations underwrite treatments for birth injuries, burns, birth defects, blindness and trauma-based injuries. The platform has activated more than 3,000 donors to impact the lives of over 6,000 patients.



In 2013, Dressember’s fifth year, the organization aligned with International Justice Mission, a human rights organization that works to rescue victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and modern-day slavery. That year, 1,233 registered participants around the world rallied to collectively raise over $165,000. Participation doubled the next year, and the campaign raised more than $465,000. Starting in 2015, the campaign will increase its partnerships with other anti-trafficking organizations.


Girls Who Code

Seventy-four percent of middle schools girls express interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), but only 0.4 percent of high school girls choose computer science as their major. Girls Who Code aims to empower girls with the computer science education and skill sets needed to pursue 21st century opportunities. The deputy public advocate of New York City, Reshma Saujani, the organization’s founder and CEO, started Girls Who Code to close the gender gap in technology. In 2014, its programs served 375 girls in multiple cities. Some 90 percent continued to pursue computer science or a closely related field as their major or minor, and 77 percent changed paths because of their time with Girls Who Code. By moving toward gender parity in computing fields, more girls will be equipped with the tools they need to innovate and incite social change.


Ultraviolet Edge Initiative

The Ultraviolet Edge is a global initiative of Urban Decay Cosmetics to empower women. By helping to fund organizations that fight for the rights of women everywhere, Urban Decay encourages all women to embrace their individuality in everything they do.


Women’s Partnership Market

Women’s Partnership Market supports grassroots organizations like Women’s Global to empower female entrepreneurs through access to business training and microfinance to address the root causes of poverty.



Bustle’s list of groups also includes some international organisations, such as:

We respect, protect and promote the dignity of our clients and their communities.

Courtesy Camfed


International nonprofit Camfed has been pioneering girls’ education programs in sub-Saharan Africa since 1993. According to its website, the organization’s programs have directly supported more than a million students through primary and secondary school. To donate, head over to the Camfed website.

Engeder Health

Family planning is a pressing issue for women, and that’s the focus of global nonprofit EngenderHealth, along with STI prevention and maternal health. Check out the organization for yourself and donate here.

Pro Mujer:

Founded in Bolivia in 1990, Pro Mujer is a women’s development organization distributing small loans to women in Latin America. Since its creation, Pro Mujer has loaned out more than $2.8 billion, $340 million of which was distributed last year. Donate here.


According to its website, global nonprofit Pathfinder “envisions a world where everyone has access to contraception, where there are zero new HIV infections, where no woman dies from preventable pregnancy-related complications, and where everyone leads a healthy sexual and reproductive life.” The organization is dedicated to worldwide sexual health using a groundbreaking community-based model. Donate here.


Hungarian Artisan Christmas Market

My office recently held a Christmas fair, inviting the NGOs and craftspeople we support to sell handmade crafts and food. It was an incredible chance for us to meet groups from across Hungary working on many different issues, and to learn more about what drives them. I had the chance to speak to some of the sellers about their work, and thought I’d share their stories and some photos with you. If you’re looking for traditional crafts from Hungary, made by hand and with care for their communities, look no further!




These candle holders are made out of recycled paper, by workers at Búzavirág Alapítvány (Cornflower Foundation). Búzavirág works with visually-challenged communities in rural Hungary, to enable them to live independently, since they receive little support from the local authorities.

They’ve been working towards self-sufficiency for the visually impaired since 1997, with the goal of providing financial independence and the self-confidence that earning your own money provides, through promoting traditional craftsmanship and teaching self-sustainability to its artisans.

They make pottery, baskets and carpets, and provide the necessary marketing and business skills to their artisans, enabling them to sell these goods at different craft markets. Find out more about the group’s mission, and the beautiful items they sell here.



Image courtesy Búzavirág Alapítvány



Image courtesy Búzavirág Alapítvány


Igazgyöngy Alapítvány (Real Pearl Foundation) has been working towards community development in eastern Hungary since 1999, and provides members of one of the most disadvantaged regions of the country with art education, vocational courses and builds community cohesion through family care. The organisation is split into an art school and a foundation, which works directly with the entire community while the art school is for children from the 12 nearest municipalities.

Children of all ages, from municipalities in Hajdú-Bihar county learn graphic design, handicrafts, enamelwork, painting and dance. All proceeds from sales of art school goods go back into the foundation’s work to provide community development to families, many of whom are also Roma and face multiple layers of discrimination and exclusion, particularly in this region of Hungary.



Image courtesy Igazgyöngy Alapítvány

Image courtesy Igazgyöngy Alapítvány

Zsuzsa Formanek, an artist and founder of Budai Rajziskola, designs and creates unique decorative and practical works of art using recycled glass. Check out more of her work here.



Courtesy Zsuzsa Formanek

Courtesy Zsuzsa Formanek

What do you think? Everything available in the market was beautiful, made with love and gave back to their communities. This is part of the reason I love Christmas – the push for meaningful, ethical presents for loved ones is strongest towards the end of the year, and it’s always great fun to wander around a market!

Charlie Hebdo

Thankfully I haven’t yet seen any retards talking about how Islam is apparently the only religion which has extremists or terrorists, and trying to blame an entire religion for the acts of a few horrible people. This is an excellent article. Read.

Reblog: Original articl from The Guardian, Wednesday 7 January 2015 14.36 GMT

Charlie Hebdo: Now is the time to uphold freedoms and not give in to fear

Terrorists can kill and maim, but they cannot topple governments. We must not hand them victory by treating this massacre as an act of war.
A general view shows firefighters, polic
The scene in Paris: ‘Charlie Hebdo was testing the boundaries of taste and religious tolerance.’ Photograph: Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

Why does it happen? Whenever a political outrage is committed, the sensible question is to ask: what does its perpetrator want? What reaction does he seek, and what does he not seek?

Twelve dead cannot go unremarked. Those journalists who confront violent intolerance, even in the supposed security of a city office, need every support. When, very rarely, they die in that cause, they must be lauded and mourned.

Those who comment through satire are peculiarly bold, more so than those who deploy argument. Ridicule is the most devastating and wounding of weapons. It reaches parts of the political and personal psyche that reason cannot touch. It is one of democracy’s most effective weapons, and the price those who wield it have to pay is sometimes as high as any other.

There can be no doubt that the magazine Charlie Hebdo was testing the boundaries of taste and religious tolerance. But that is the burden freedom of speech in a democracy has to bear. The US bore it recently with its satire on North Korea’s leader; it was the risk Charlie Hebdo took, and knew it was taking.

If satire reaches places argument cannot touch, should terrorism now be allowed to do the same? All authorities on terrorism agree, as its student Richard English has written, that the question has “no easy solution”. The reason is that it is a technique of conflict, not a cause. It is merely a weapon, not an ideology.

In murdering so many, we can assume the terrorists sought to achieve two things. They sought to terrify others and thus to deter continued criticism, and they now seek to reduce the French state to a condition of paranoia. They want to goad otherwise liberal people to illiberal actions. To them, western democracy is skin deep in its freedoms, while the simple disciplines of their form of Islam are more powerful, more courageous, more lasting.

For the past quarter-century, the west has misread and misplayed the upsurge in fundamentalist sentiment across the Muslim world. The anti-western thrust was manifest in movements as diverse as Sayyid Qutb’s Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Taliban in Afghanistan, Iran’s ayatollahs, Bin Laden’s al-Qaida and, more recently, Isis in Syria and Iraq. But it has almost always been cultural, directed at the states of the Middle East, at keeping them to some concept of religious purity.

Some of these movements sought caliphates and toppled secular regimes, notably those of the Ba’athists. But the insurgencies were mostly contained within the region. The threat to the west was negligible. The threat to western commercial interests was more substantive, but it was likely to be short-lived. Oil would always need to be sold, as has proved to be the case.

Osama bin Laden’s attacks on the United States, culminating in New York in 2001, were exceptional. Since he could not hope for an American capitulation, the intention must have been to scare the US into a hysterical reaction. As a result, all advice at the time was for America not to universalise its response to 9/11, let alone characterise it as a “war”. This would merely fuel the flames of horror, and lead on to God knows where. As Tom Paine warned: “Sanguinary punishment corrupts humankind.”

That advice was ignored, and years of war ensued, years that realised al-Qaida’s wildest dreams. Western nations plunged into battle, at a cost of some $3tn. Thousands of lives were lost and regimes were destabilised across the region. Democratic governments lurched towards authoritarianism. Almost willingly, it seemed, governments tore up many of the central tenets of their liberties. In the more belligerent states – the US and Britain – habeas corpus, private communication, legal process and even freedom of speech were curtailed or jeopardised. The forces of state repression suddenly found themselves singing the best tunes.

Bin Laden was handed his triumph. For a decade he was able to rally supporters to his cause. He boasted at the vulnerability of this supposedly superior society. He taunted democracies that claimed immunity from the devious tactics of militant Islam. American presidents and British home secretaries alike became al-Qaida’s useful idiots.

Today’s French terrorists want a similarly hysterical response. They want another twist in the thumbscrew of the surveillance state. They want the media to be told to back off. They want new laws, new controls, new additions to the agenda of illiberalism. They know that in most western nations, including Britain, there exists a burgeoning industry of illiberal bureaucrats with empires to build. This industry may be careful of public safety, but it is careless of the comfort and standing it offers the terrorist. There will now be cries from the security services and parliament for more powers and more surveillance.

Few would be so foolish as to want any group, in this case journalists, to be left unprotected from acts such as those that have occurred in Paris. Huge resources have already been allocated to forestalling terrorist acts, and that is appropriate. But these acts are crimes and should be treated as such. They are for assiduous policing, at which Britain has so far been reasonably successful. They are not for constitutional deterioration.

Only weakened and failing states treat these crimes as acts of war. Only they send their leaders diving into bunkers and summoning up ever darker arts of civil control, now even the crudities of revived torture. Such leaders cannot accept that such outrages will always occur, everywhere. They refuse to respect limits to what a free society can do to prevent them.

Britain has never been free of acts of violence. The 20th century saw bombs in London from anarchists, Fenians, Palestinians and Irish nationalists. Now we have so-called jihadists. The last is the only group seriously to threaten Britain’s custodianship of freedoms handed down by centuries of the rule of law. This very week parliament considers stripping British citizenship from those merely “suspected” of going abroad in pursuit of terrorism. Anyone visiting London at present – with its blast barriers, armed police, alert notices, even train announcements – senses a government in thrall to terror, unable ever to say enough is enough.

Terrorism is no ordinary crime. It depends on consequence. It can kill people and damage property. It can impose cost. But it cannot occupy territory or topple governments. Even to instil fear it requires human enhancement, from the media and politicians.

That is why the most effective response is to meet terrorism on its own terms. It is to refuse to be terrified. It is not to show fear, not to overreact, not to over-publicise the aftermath. It is to treat each event as a passing accident of horror, and leave the perpetrator devoid of further satisfaction. That is the only way to defeat terrorism.

18 September 2013

I’m revising for my exams, which are in about three weeks’ time. It’s going well so far, mainly because I have most of the day to stay at home and study!

Obvious downside to that though is of course, one winds up talking to oneself, going slowly more and more insane, and pouncing on one’s significant other the minute he comes back from work. Oops.

I’m not miles away from this, for example:

Jack Nicholson in ‘The Shining’

You think I’m exaggerating, don’t you? I’m really not. Here’s a reason why.

One of the students for my ‘Climate Change and Development’ module has put together an Excel sheet of exam questions from the past three years, circulated it and asked that we each answer one, email them to her and she’ll distribute it amongst everyone’s who’s participated (as an incentive to get more people involved).

Great idea.

However, because I’m going mad, I’m slightly panicking that the exam is in three weeks, I emailed her my topic yesterday and I’ve still not got anything.

To reiterate, I emailed her less than 24 hours ago and I’m starting to worry about why I haven’t heard back. It’s a simple essay question, not the necessary signature to Push the Red Button. I’m already circulating some conspiracy theories of “she’s STOLEN THEM!”

I think I need to breathe, make some tea and breathe some more.

September Onwards

Hi everyone,

This is a slight deviation from my normal posts.

I’ve decided to expand my blog’s purpose, and start blogging about random thoughts, observations, comments etc.

Don’t worry, I will not be posting Taylor Swift gifs, talking about my love life, discussing what hair colour I should go for, what dress to wear, why I’ve decided to pick a fight with my best friend, or any of that jazz.

(If I ever go back on this, please, please, PLEASE remind me to get over myself and stop being a wanker).

I’ve decided to start writing about how we’re adjusting to, and enjoying, life in Budapest! Lots has changed since I last properly lived here about seven years ago, but a lot is still the same. I spent the last six years of my schooling here but haven’t properly lived here for a decent amount of time since I was 18.

My boyfriend teaches in a school and I am still in the process of finding a good job. I intend to carry on with my MSc in Poverty Reduction: Policy and Practice.

We’ll be exploring the city, drinking and eating til we can’t take any more, then carry on indulging anyway!

There are a lot of cultural differences of course, but it’s been an amazing adventure so far.

We made the decision to move back after my entire bureau was made redundant and I had the choice of either finding another job in the UK, reapply as a student, marry my boyfriend, or leave.

It was a no-brainer. We were out.

And now here we are!

So, bear with me as I try out this whole personal blogging thing. As much as possible, I want to keep it funny, informative, insightful, when appropriate, artistic and poetic, but at all times, I want you to enjoy it.

I’m being serious – please let me know if it’s getting boring, too personal, has lost its humour etc. I want you to enjoy this, so let me know if that’s no longer the case!

(I will still be blogging about the political stories which you’ve – hopefully anyway! – enjoyed reading in the past, so don’t worry about that!)

Keep the comments coming!


No Comment: The Turkish Spring?

I found this interesting Op/Ed piece in Hurriyet Daily, one of the most well-read English-language papers in the Turkish press.

It addresses the issue of whether the latest rounds of protests, demonstrations and, yes, violence, in Taksim Square in Istanbul has anything to do with the Arab Spring which swept through the Middle East two years ago.

Let me know what you think, I found his perspective interesting. The English may not be that great, but it’s certainly worth thinking about.

Why is it not a ‘Turkish spring’?



The five day wave of protests which started to claim for the last green spot in the Taksim square of Istanbul and spread across Turkey marked a few points:

– For the first time in 11 years of Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) rule in Turkey, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan had to retire a project that he was very keen on due to a national scale wave of protests resulted on June 1. Erdoğan is no more keen on building a big shopping mall as a part of the historical artillery barracks (which he did not paddled back), but raised the bar on another sensitive issue as to build a mosque there. That could be an indication that he will never forget Taksim example and will ‘not remain silent’ as he said on a TV show on June 2.

– The Taksim move by government has been perceived by the public opinion as Erdoğan’s personal will, perhaps as a matter of accumulated reaction, despite the fact that it was a collective decision by Istanbul’s municipal assembly. Erdoğan doesn’t hide his anger that he was called to resign by demonstrators for days and denounced as a ‘dictator’ by both protestors and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. He made this a point three times on June 2 on three different occasions of addressing people.

– The fears that the protestations could escalate and blood could be shed because of though police stance and growing reaction of the crowds on June 1, faded out in a few hours whan police withdrew from the Taksim square with its pepper gas and water cannon squads, following President Abdullah Gül’s telephone call to Erdoğan and then his official statement mainly calling the police to tone down and to protestors to hear what the government was saying. In the same framework, Kılıçdaroğlu who had cancelled a CHP demonstration planned for the same day and asked his supporters to join Taksim protestors, did not show up in Taksim, as a gesture of not trying to hijack it.

– That will have consequences in politics as Turkey is getting prepared for the Presidential elections in 2014 and Erdoğan has been eyeing to get elected, but with more powers and less checks and balances over the executive powers of presidency. Gül and Constitutional Court (which composed of judges appointed by Gül) as being the two bodies who have the capacity to turn down legislations made clear that they were against weakening of checks-and-balances to give superior powers to president.

– That is why the ‘Turkish Spring’ analogy of the Taksim protests in reference to the Arab Spring was too quick and over-stretching of reality in Turkey; democratic actors have still power in power here to intervene in and contribute for a settlement which can be effective in a short period of time. It is true that the Taksim protests demonstrated the ‘other 50 percent’s’ worriers regarding not only about a secular way of life but also about a less pluralistic society and politics.

Those points will definitely have an effect the local and presidential elections in 2014 and perhaps on the Parliamentary elections in 2015.

French Hijab Ban Fixed Firmly in Place

The French constitutional court last night came to a decision about the wearing of hijab in public places. According to this new law, it is illegal for women to wear a full facial veil such as the niqab or burka. To avoid any accusations of religious intolerance, racism or bigotry, the rule will allow this tradition in public houses of worship. To do otherwise, the BBC reports, may “violate religious freedom.”

A fine of 150 Euros is applicable to anyone who wears a full facial veil in public; alternatively, women may enrol in a “citizenship course.”

Muslims in France have been ‘assured’ however, that there will be a six-month period of education; during this time, Muslim women who wear a niqab or burka will be informed of the illegality of their tradition. They will be told that the fines for such crimes are severe, and that they could face arrest.

Those who force women to wear a full facial veil are liable to pay a fine of 30,000 Euros.

This debate began some years ago amid concerns of a dwindling French identity. Public sentiment maintained that French people were not free in their own land – and that the cosmopolitan nature of their modern society had left them without a national identity of their own.

Riots and racial violence had in the past stopped this law from going much further than the forums of public debate.

There are however, some forms of hijab permissible under this new rule: hijab, al-amira, shayla, chimar and chador. 

However, there is further controversy around this judgement as it will force around 2,000 French women who currently wear a full facial hijab to switch to one of the permissible items of hijab. These women have been given six months to alter a practice they have maintained since they were six years old.

French president Nicholas Sarkozy has backed this ruling; ending, in effect, a nation- and continent-wide debate on French national identity and the place of Islam in modern France.

British national papers report that Spain and Belgium are considering implementing this law.

A chador is worn mainly in Iran; a full length piece of cloth, it is open down the front and then thrown over the head. The ends are held shut by hands or by tying them at the waist. This is one of the most conservative methods for women to follow the Islamic dress code, known as hijab.

A khimar is a long piece of cloth which hangs down almost to the waist; it covers the hair, neck and shoulders but leaves the face completely clear. This is a conservative form of hijab open to French women who wish to conceal themselves.


The burka is one of the most conservative and concealing form of hijab. It covers the entire head, face and body; a mesh screen is worn for the eyes.


A niqab is a facial veil which leaves a space open for the eyes; alternatively, a separate piece of cloth can be worn over the eyes. The niqab is usually worn with a headscarf.

Hijab is the Arabic word for this form of dress and is also the name of the most commonly found headscarf. The hijab comes in many shapes and sizes and is the most common method of wearing hijab in the West. In its most common form, a hijab is a scarf or a piece of cloth wrapped around the head, leaving the face open. The hijab will be legal in France.


Shayla is a long veil found most commonly in the Gulf region of the world. It is wrapped around the head and hangs down by the shoulders. This will be legal in France. Shayla is the most common form of headdress for visitors to the Middle East, especially those wishing to observe local traditions while not completely covering themselves.

Al-Amira comprises of two pieces of cloth – a cap, usually made of cotton and a tube-shaped scarf which goes above the head. In this way, the full head and the hairline are hidden. This will be legal in France.