I’d been ruminating on the fact that I see so many different aspects of life and its relationship to feminism debated via social media and in the popular press. Not to mention in academic texts, conferences and published literature. As a woman I have an opinion on feminism, it will bear the same hallmarks as the opinions held by other women who both identify as feminists… or not. As women there is a fact, the constant, that you are at a disadvantage. Whether you accept that, discuss it, live through it or actively oppose it, the reality remains the same.
I posted some thoughts via a series of tweets last night – they are here;
1/My View on #Feminism: get 2 the root cause of the myriad issues facing women (frm all intersections) & tackle 1by1. In some cases it will>
2/require working frm within the halls of power. This is why lobbying for women in senior positions is vital-it has to be structural not just>
3/ideological. Mass-media has to managed to challenge the status quo and the age old bullshit of women stereotypes. & key to all of this>
4/has to be a commitment by government to enforce laws and provide funding one issue at a time. Equality, education, vawg, poverty, sw, dv.>
5/Until there is a fundamental shift in the decision making of global government that means women are considered 1st in all decision making>
6/we will not improve the lives of women in all the different intersections they exist in. Small shifts lead to bigger ones and until the>
7/people in power start to enforce we all have a collective obligation to support women as the oppressed in our societies-and to give them>
8/a voice when they have no platform and speak out when we see inequality. But hey, just my opinion;-)
So yes, a brain dump for sure. But I do think one of the biggest challenges facing any movement is its ability to be joined up, to be all pulling in the same direction. I have a background in project and process management and it’s fair to say that the projects that succeed are those that are planned well, not just executed well. It’s also fair to say that while it can have positive effects to one small group to have a focus of improvement, the overall process will not necessarily benefit if that is done in isolation. The tenet “leave no woman behind” should be our mantra.
I know that genuine and lasting change can’t happen because we as half the population simply will it to, actual change will happen when there is a shift in balance so that it almost goes on in the background and literally starts to permeate with a life of its own. Sexism has become entrenched and violence and abuse against women has become normalised in our society-and yes, I speak from a white western perspective, but I believe those truths to be universal, women are a globally oppressed class/group. So if sexism has taken millennia to get to the top rung of the ladder it’s going to take time to reverse this.
But how do we get the tanker moving in the right direction? The tanker has to take an age to turn with the momentum it needs, it has to be made through the push and pull being in unison. When I work on a project of process improvement, I start by analysing the root causes.
The defect in this particular process is the oppression of women, the root causes-or types of oppressions myriad. This list is BY NO MEANS exhaustive, but a starting point for me, a collation. If I have learned anything on my journey through feminism, the intersections are not limited to those most obvious;
c) Gender or sexuality based oppression
The types of abuses and oppressions that women experience listed above, could they be legislated for? Almost certainly. They are measurable, specific and definable. The root causes of the oppressions faced above drive a number of specific inequalities and experiences predominantly particular to women;
1) Enhanced risk of abuse, violence and death from abuse
2) Sexual and or gender/based violence
4) Unequal pay
5) Unequal representation in business/public sector/media
Many of those root causes A-E can and do result in some/all of the effects 1-5. Once we start accepting that those inequalities exist and are real we can start to look at implementing fixes. This requires a combined effort not just by women, we can highlight and voice the oppression we face, but many of the decision makers and implementers are still currently men.
Where I see that we do have some modicum of power is in our votes. We must lobby politicians to start to effect change in legislation that does not serve women. If they will not make those promises they do not get our vote. Easy to say in a society that affords women the vote without fear of violent repercussions, not so easy elsewhere, for sure. But this isn’t a one size fits all approach, it is a starting point, that creates a lead by example cascade. And where we cannot effect change, because we do not have the control or influence to do so, we at least acknowledge it, we share and voice the experiences of women who cannot.
Education is critical, we have to be changing the perceived notion within society that women are worthless – literally Worth Less. A series of changes to the curriculum that incorporates sex and relationship education, Including women from history and in literature, opening up sports so they allow for girls to take part across the board, music and the arts to celebrate and teach the works of women. All ways to raise women in the societal stakes.
It feels like a never-ending battle. Because it is. But there has to be a way to harness the energy, positivity of women from all societal tranches. Those who live and die by feminism, those who’ve never heard of it.
The different political and ideological aspects of the different streams in feminism has one pure line from A-B running through it. The emancipation of women, the enhancement to the quality of the lives they live and the equality that is their right to own alongside their male counterparts . This line can be walked and change effected. We will have to work together to do this, because the message needs to get out there and the signal boost relies on asking those we don’t always agree with to join us on the project to improve our lives for the better. For us and for our daughters.