Western feminism had some impact on women in other parts of the world, even though the western feminist agendas (and the style of protest and rhetoric) often had little relevance to the most pressing problems of women in very different social circumstances.
Western feminist scholars could also be criticized for misunderstanding feminist struggle in other continents and cultures: see for example: Oyewumi, Oyeronke , African Women and Feminism: Reflecting on the Politics of Sisterhood Trenton NJ , Africa World Press, , 2004, pp. 282 .
The strength of feminist groups around the world has varied considerably, depending on the political context, the social, cultural and religious obstacles they had to overcome, and how far there was an earlier history of women’s political activism, although feminism could emerge in very repressive contexts, as in Afghanistan in the 1950s and 1970s. In Latin America there were lively women’s movements in the 1970s and Latin American and Caribbean feminists began to meet regularly at a regional level in 1981. In China feminist protest is constrained by lack of political freedom; in India women do have democratic freedoms and have been campaigning on women’s issues for decades, but as the brutal gang rape and murder of a woman student in Delhi in December 2012, and also the ‘dowry deaths’ of young brides, have illustrated, women in India are threatened by alarming levels of public and sometimes family violence. The position of women in the Middle East has been mixed; women were often prominent in the 2011 Arab uprisings, but also vulnerable to public violence, as in Egypt. In conservative monarchical Saudi Arabia women taking part in a campaign of driving cars on 22 May 2012 were committing an act of civil disobedience; but (after several women challenged their lack of a vote) the King decided in September 2011 to allow women to vote and to stand in municipal elections.
Local and national campaigns have often gained publicity and support from transnational feminist organizations and networks created since the 1980s. These bodies often lobby at the level of the UN and issue policy documents, but many also offer solidarity through transnational conferences, training institutes, research resources, spreading news, issuing action alerts, supporting demonstrations or offering practical help. They also often cooperate with other transnational feminist organizations. For more information and details of current action by a few of these organizations with varied agendas, see:
- DAWN (Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era) founded in 1984 to assess crises faced by women and impact of neoliberalism: http://www.dawnnet.org
- SIGI (Sisterhood Is Global Institute) created in 1984 as ‘the first international feminist think tank’: https://sigi.org
- WEDO (Women’s Environment and Development Organization) campaigning for ‘a just world, human rights, gender equality and the integrity of the environment’, which supported People’s Climate Change March September 2014 in New York: http://www.wedo.org
- WLUML (Women Living Under Muslims Laws) is ‘an international solidarity network with groups in about 40 countries and reaching over 110 countries that provides information, support and a collective space’ for women seeking their rights and challenging repressive interpretations of Islam. Their website, available in Arabic, French and English, is: http://www.wluml.org/
A recent feminist declaration which has reached a global audience is by the admired Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, author of Half of a Yellow Sun, who debunks stereotypes about feminists and argues feminism is relevant to all women:
- Adiche, Chimamanda Ngozi, We Should All Be Feminists Fourth Estate, , 2014, pp. 64 . Adapted from her 2013 Tedx talk available on You Tube, and also used in a recording by Beyonce.