Volume 18, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1388-3186
  • E-ISSN: 2352-2437



Up until today, the global feminist community has been haunted by a history of inequality and oppression. The hegemonic context of racist imperialism produced a rather problematic version of an imagined , as Western feminists for a long time felt, and sometimes to some extent still feel, superior to women elsewhere in the non-western world. In this article, we will examine to which extent Belgian feminism can be understood as ‘imperialist feminism’, a term used by Antoinette Burton in her research on British feminism in the imperial era. By means of a qualitative discourse analysis of feminist journals, published during the period of 1892-1960, this article explores to which extent the Belgian colonial project, and corresponding imperialist and orientalist thinking in general, influenced the discourse of Belgian feminists. The way Belgian feminist discourse possibly showed different forms of pride in the nation state, including its colonial project and civilisation mission, and Belgian women serving this project with a specific moral and social mission, could be explained in terms of strategic opportunism. It will be shown that some Belgian feminists, through victimisation of Congolese women and a maternalist reappropriation of the common educational role for women in Western societies, constructed a very specific , which can be framed in a quest for inclusion and recognition in Belgium.


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