On September 24th 2019, the RAJA-Danièle Marcovici Foundation’s team welcomed Bouchera Azzouz, director, co-founder of the association «les Ateliers du Féminisme Populaire» and member of the Executive Committee of the Foundation, as part of a movie-debate on her documentary “They called ud beurettes”. Many collaborators from RAJA France attended the screening and exchanged with the director. On this occasion, Bouchera Azzouz kindly answered some questions.
I put forward a postulate that is in fact an observation: women, or rather their emancipatory dynamic, is a powerful lever for transforming neighbourhoods. This is a very poorly described reality, because society in all these strata is dominated by men. It was only through the willingness of women to take their place everywhere that society began to change. In the media, for example, women are still under-represented. So imagine the representation of women from working-class neighbourhoods and even more from immigration. Here too, it is under the impetus of women that things are slowly beginning to change.
“They called us beurettes” is the second part of a series of 3 documentaries* that tell the story of our neighbourhoods from a female point of view, with a very specific prism, that of the Maghrebi immigration, from which I come. The “beurettes”, terminology that we have massively rejected, is the name by which we have designated all this Maghrebian youth, born in France after the Algerian War. We have struggled with the racism that plagues society and forced our families to overcome the traditional and cultural straitjacket. While our lives have been marked by difficult struggles, we have won battles to reverse racism and discrimination, which remain current issues. In reality, what we have tried to do is take society and our parents out of colonial relationships and move to egalitarian relationships. For us, as girls, it was certainly much more complex than for our brothers. How to find the right balance, between respect for family traditions and the desire for freedom? This is the thorny issue that this film deals with.
* “Nos mères, nos daronnes” (2014), “On nous appellait beurettes” (2018), the 3rd part is being realized.
For me, popular feminism is an empirical feminism based on a life experience, and an observation of “being a woman” when we live with multiple constraints. I have always been aware, because I lived it, that being a woman was an obstacle, and even more so a woman from the neighborhoods, but also from the working classes, if not poor. Coming from immigration, from a large single-parent family, was a test! And a test of every day and everywhere. As a very young person, I learn to be a “solver” of problems. Over the years, I have objected to this experience in a more global thinking, that of “popular feminism”, a feminism of everyday life, a feminism rooted in the social reality, inseparable from the socio-economic issue, and the fight against all inequalities. A feminism conscious of intersectionality, but that inscribes its struggle in a strictly republican perspective. As such, popular feminism is, in my opinion, the matrix of a political renewal to rebuild the social and republican pact and build a republic that is social, ecological and emancipatory.
I am an admirer of the RAJA Society. First because it was founded by two women, Rachel and Jeanine, who merged both their first names and their talent. This beautiful story continued with her transmission to Rachel’s daughter, Danièle Marcovici, who is following in her mother’s footsteps and taking over. A women’s society that could only lead to helping other women all over the world, to get out of poverty. A commitment to support associations that work to empower many women.
It was a great honour to join the Executive Committee and thus have the opportunity to participate in supporting all these initiatives. That only reinforced my admiration for Danièle Marcovici, because even here in France, there are few women-owned businesses, particularly family-owned businesses founded by women. It is important to me that my choices remain consistent with the values I stand for, while at the same time having a sense of advancing other women.
Fille de daronne et fière de l’être, Bouchera Azzouz, éditions Plon (2016)
Les femmes au secours de la République, de l’Europe et de la planète, Bouchera Azzouz, Corinne Lepage, éditions Max Milo (2015)