Imagining Muslim women: examining the effects of images in women’s human rights campaigns

This project examined the content and effects of images of Muslim and ‘other’ women, used in contemporary human rights campaigns. Through analysis of several images and the accompanying text of several key campaigns, we found several effects and motivations for their use. In a crowded empathy and compassion market, in which women’s rights fight for space and attention, strong emotion is identified as a key crucible of humanitarian action. Images were often extreme and confronting in their depictions or violations of women's rights. Empathy and shock, proximity and distance, despair and rescue were paired in both motivations and responses to the images. The relationship between the campaigns and the women being addressed by the campaigns were frequently distant and sometimes problematic, raising concerns about the uncertain effects and effectiveness of the campaigns.


Maree Pardy [Gender Studies, Faculty of Arts, UoM]

Dianne Otto [Institute for International Law and the Humanities, Melbourne Law School, UoM]

Juliet Rogers [Criminology, Faculty of Arts, UoM]

Research outputs


Ghumkhor S. & Rogers J. (2014) 'The spectacle of the veiled woman and the mutilated child', Australian Feminist Law Journal 40(2):199-213


Looking at images of Muslim women‘, Annie Rahilly for Voice, Monday 10 March 2014