By Naomi Panovka, Canada.
The extent of oppression that a women will face in her life varies greatly depending on her country, identity, and opportunities. FGM, child marriage, and honour killings are the reality of millions of women around the world, while women in my country, Canada, are lucky enough to generally lead safe and secure lives.
It is undeniable that the progress of feminism has been asymmetric. While the legal rights that women have earned ought by celebrated, the illusion of equality makes it far easier to deny the very real and tangible ways that the patriarchy continues to disenfranchise women. Feminism is still needed in countries where women experience the highest degree of legal protection, and here are 7 reasons why:
By Vee Nis Ling, Malaysia.
It’s easy, as a teenager raised in the city, to say: “You know what? The world is an okay place for women. Feminism doesn’t seem so important.”
But there are women out there whose eyes will never see this post and girls who wouldn’t be able to read it even if it were shown to them – and they are the ones we have left behind. They are the people we fail when we say: “The world is okay.” Because it isn’t. Living in Malaysia, these are just some of the obstacles to gender equality that I see every day:
By Saara Meghji, Canada.
The meaning of feminism and the way in which it applies to everyday individuals has changed throughout time. While proponents of first-wave and second-wave feminism fought for incredibly valuable policies (i.e. the right to vote, equal pay and representation in the workplace), it is only recently that intersectionality is beginning to be perceived as a vital part of productive activism. Unfortunately, feminism has historically failed at incorporating individuals of different races, sexualities, gender identities, and social classes into the movement: and even more unfortunately, many individuals who personally align themselves with the feminist movement still fail at this today. With that, here are a number of reasons why women of various races/social classes are uniquely impacted by the Patriarchy, and why the feminist movement is overall stronger when as many individuals can align themselves with it as possible.
*DISCLAIMER: This list is by no means exhaustive! The patriarchy has many impacts specific to women of varying intersectionalities – these are just a few of them :)
By Karen HyunBee Cho, South Korea.
Feminist legal scholars have been instrumental in shaping the progression of societies away from the patriarchal, conservative sociopolitical norms that have governed the past. These groundbreaking theories each prioritize differing values for the feminist movement, but share a few core commonalities. The first is that they acknowledge that men have historically dictated the development of civilizations, and this is largely the reason why they often have greater access to status, wealth, and privilege than women in the modern era. Second, all the theories share the same end goal: a world in which men and women are treated equally within the social, political, and economic branches of society.
Given this, it is necessary to dig deeper into the subtle nuances that distinguish some of these theories from one another and discuss potential areas where these theories fall short in supporting the message of the feminist movement.
By Naomi Panovka, Canada.
Ancient history has been one of the most memorable courses I have taken throughout high school, as I’ve had the opportunity to learn about intriguing time periods such as the middle ages, the reformation, and the religious wars. However, as I sat in class learning about the Hongwu Emperor, Mehmed the Conqueror, Cosimo De Medici, Martin Luther, and Machiavelli, I came to a sad realization; We had yet to study a women. I began to postulate the reasoning behind the lack of female representation in my history textbook. Did women contribute less to history? Did sexism prevent females from accessing positions of power? Did male historians purposefully undermine the contributions of women? Upon further investigation, I discovered the unfortunate truth. The contributions of women throughout history were instrumental in shaping human civilians. Far too often, their innovations and contributions were ignored, demonized, or credited to men.
The ignorance of women’s contributions to history began thousands of years ago, and continues today. Pharaoh Hatshepsut was one of the most successful Egyption leaders, as she established vital trade routes, initiated building projects, and outwardly expanded the Egyption empire. However, memory of the prosperity she brought Europe was nearly erased by her own stepson, who attempted to remove statues and records of the great Hatshepsut. Furthermore, women who are remembered are often unfairly vilified. For example, Cleopatra was portrayed as a harlot who used her sexuality to control powerful men in her life, such as Julius Caesar. In reality, she was a highly intelligent women and astute political figure. Sexualising Cleopatra was a way of undermining other elements of her identity.
Authors explore the development and application of various feminist theories on our modern society.