Attitudes Toward Gender Equality and Opposition to Muslim Full-Face Veils

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Abstract

Often presented and perceived as incompatible with Western values, Muslim full-face veils meet strong opposition. Despite antiveil discourses often being based on concerns for gender equality, it is unclear whether those championing the equal treatment of men and women are also those who oppose full-face veils. Through two online studies conducted in French-speaking Switzerland, the present research aims to shed light on the complex relationship between attitudes toward gender equality and reactions to Muslim full-face veils. Study 1 showed that, as expected, people concerned about gender equality were less opposed to the public wearing of full-face veils because they supported Muslim minorities to a greater extent. Study 2 further revealed that people who believed that gender equality could be reached only by being enforced by all means opposed the wearing of full-face veils to a greater extent. Taken together, these results highlight both the complex underpinnings of attitudes toward the Muslim headscarf and the multidimensionality of positive attitudes toward gender equality.

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