MONTREAL – On the day the Parti Quebecois tabled its controversial charter of values, a group of Quebec feminists published an open letter to Pauline Marois, asking the premier to withdraw her proposal to ban religious symbols.
Signed by over 70 self-described “women who believe in women,” the letter, published in French and in English, has been making the rounds on social media.
“We support a woman’s right to make choices in her life, especially when it comes to the control of her body,” it reads.
“By legislating a woman’s right to dress as her conscience dictates, you are taking away her fundamental right to control her own body. By forcing her to choose between her work and her faith you are ensuring that she will be marginalized, not liberated.
Furthermore, far from bringing equality to women, the ban privileges Muslim men over Muslim women and Sikh women over Sikh men, just to name two examples.”
Reverend Diane Rollert, a minister of the Unitarian Church of Montreal, is one of the letter’s first signatories: she penned the original letter.
“The letter pretty much says it all,” she told Global News.
“With ‘Les Janettes.’ we felt we needed to respond . . . we believe that women are capable and wise enough to make their own decisions and control their own bodies.”
Of the 73 signatories, many are rabbis, priests and ministers.
“We are leaders in our communities,” said Rollert.
“We understand the history of women here in Quebec. How long it took us to get the vote. But it isn’t a reason to turn around and oppress other women.”