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Earlier this year, Maryam’s book,Unveiling Choice, which discusses her decision to stop wearing a headscarf, had sparked debate in Malaysia and resulted in Islamic officials in the country launching an investigation into her book launch.

“My body is my right, but what we should really be asking is why does society not see your body as your right?” she said.

As women are becoming more economically empowered and politically aware, she said, the conservatives, who had more resources politically and economically, had responded to the fact by imposing restrictions on what women could do, say and wear.

“We have to be tactical and strategic in our advocacy […] That’s why we have to understand the history of our movement to know our political positions and affect bigger changes,” Maryam told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of the event.