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F.5.i. Feminist Theory and Debates
In this essay Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie offers a unique definition of feminism, by rooting it in inclusion and awareness. This book is an adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi’s TEDx talk.
Argues that, in a society like Nigeria’s, where lack of financial opportunity has fostered an entrepreneurial mindset, and where distrust of western feminism is culturally entrenched, neoliberal feminism may be women’s best option, even if neoliberal feminism is criticized for its disregard for structural inequalities and thus for failing women most susceptible to violence.
Account on how feminism has developed in the African continent, in connection also to African history and customs.
A manifesto inspired by the international women's strike, ‘NiUnaMenos’ in Argentina and other radical feminist actions. It argues for a linkage between feminism and LGBTQ+ rights and the struggle against neoliberal capitalism, and rejects the kind of liberal feminism (exemplified by Hillary Clinton) that seeks equal opportunities for women within an inherently oppressive system.
This is a collection of articles authored in The Guardian by journalist Laura Bates, in which she uncovers the sexism underpinning personal relationships, the workplace, the media and society in general.
In this paper Juliana Batista discusses the interconnection between Confucianism and Feminism and their inherent conflict. However, she reaches the conclusion that they are not mutually incompatible.
A year after the eruption of the #MeToo movement, historian Mary Beard traces the roots of misogyny in the West to Athens and Rome and explores the relationships between women and power and how this intersects with issues of rape and consent.
In this interview, Ibrahim AlHusseini - entrepreneur, documentary producer, and philanthropist - discusses the connection between renewable energy, democracy in the Middle East and feminism. It also elucidates why feminism is important to Middle Eastern men and the factors that contribute to a larger participation of men in women’s struggles for equality.
Review of the reasons behind the choice by the Chinese publishing company People’s Cultural Publishing House to translate Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book with the title ‘The Rights of Women’ rather than ‘We Should All Be Feminists’. Critics argue that the problem with the word ‘feminist’ lies in its organising for the cause, while the word ‘right’ reproduces the contemporary governmental discourse that emphasizes the rights conceded and the rule of law imposed from above, thus reproducing a patriarchal scheme on the portrayal of the book.
Feminist critic Laura Briggs argues that all politics in the U.S. are effectively reproductive politics. She outlines how politicians’ racist accounts of reproduction — stories of Black “welfare queens” and Latina “breeding machines" — encouraged the government and business disinvestment in families. With decreasing wages, the rise in temporary work and no resources for family care, US households have grown increasingly precarious over the past forty years in race-and class-stratified ways. This crisis, Briggs argues, fuels all others, such as immigration, gay marriage, anti-feminism, the rise of the Tea Party, and the election of Trump.
These two volumes form the book series Solinger, Rickie, Khiara M. Bridges, Zakiya Luna and Ruby Tapia (eds.) Reproductive Justice: A New Vision For The Twenty First Century, Oakland, CA: University of California Press,
This wide-ranging collection analyzes the status and progress of women both in a national context and collectively on a global scale, as a powerful social force in a rapidly evolving world. The countries studied―China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Egypt, Cameroon, South Africa, Italy, France, Brazil, Belize, Mexico, and the United States―represent a cross-section of economic conditions, cultural and religious traditions, political realities, and social contexts that shape women’s lives, challenges, and opportunities. Psychological and human rights perspectives highlight worldwide goals for equality and empowerment, with implications for today’s girls as they become the next generation of women. Women’s lived experience is compared and contrasted in such critical areas as: home and work; physical, medical, and psychological issues; safety and violence; sexual and reproductive concerns; political participation and status under the law; impact of technology and globalism; country-specific topics.
By taking into consideration the impact of social and political unrest and conflicts over natural resources and the environment on the lives and livelihoods of Thai women, this paper proposes four areas through which gender issues can be strategically politicized and based on feminist principles and approaches: 1) Public communication through social media to deconstruct gender mystification; 2) Educational programs to uncover intersectional strife (e.g., involving gender, national origin and class) in care work from a feminist perspective; 3) Application of gender diversity as an analytical framework for sustainable national economic and social development policy-making; 4) Creation of spaces for women’s political participation and for legitimizing women’s political participation outside the formal political system to ensure women’s right to self-determination as dignified members of society.
Chakrabarti gives an account of gender injustice as a major breach of human rights, comparable to the systematic oppression of apartheid.
In South Korea, punitive measures in response to extreme sex-crimes against children have emerged since the mid-2000s. Some scholars have argued that this punitive turn is a result of the feminist movement against sexual violence and so has been labeled as “carceral feminism.” In this paper the author argues that the Korean feminist movement against sexual violence in fact offers a counter-example to the discourse of “carceral feminism” with respect to their activities and the dynamics surrounding the movement.
In this work the author presents the work of Nigerian feminist sociologist, Oyèrónké Oyĕwùmí, as a decolonising force having the power to disrupt sub-Saharan African philosophy, Western feminist thought and discourses on African decolonisation in highly significant and surprising ways.
The author interprets the work of Nigerian feminist scholar Oyèrónké Oyĕwùmí to be embedded in a relational understanding of subjectivity, as developed in African philosophy, that is deeply relational, fluid and non-dichotomous and therefore not reducible to the strict, essentialised, hierarchical and stable gender dyad of the colonial Western gender system.
The authors explores the various aspects of Moroccan feminism from a historical, sociological and comparative perspective. They discuss women and politics, women’s NGOs, female identities, women and Sufism, and their role in the 20 February Movement (20 February 2011 – March/April 2012). They also cover women’s role in society in general, from various but inter-related perspectives: secular, Islamic, grassroots, etc.
See also Ennaji, Moha (2020) ‘Women’s activism in North Africa: a historical and socio-political approach’ in Darhour, Hanane and Drude Dahlerup (eds) (2020) Double-Edged Politics on Women’s Rights in the MENA Region. Gender and Politics, Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 157-178.
Analyses women’s activism strategies in Tunisia and Morocco directed at transforming gender roles; pursuing better legal rights and women’s progress in the public sphere; opposing violence and discrimination against women, and trying to consolidate democracy in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.
This article sheds light on women’s uprisings in Latin America and places particular emphasis on proposing a new framing for the struggles. Firstly, it stresses the need to revitalise a non-state centric type of politics. Secondly, it proposes the renewal of new forms of togetherness that could overpower patriarchal, colonial and capitalist structures. Thirdly, it argues the necessity to challenge the control exercised over women’s bodies and minds.
Public opinion studies argue that in Middle Eastern and North African countries, Muslims support gender equality less than non-Muslims. This overlooks the diversity in religion–feminism relations. This paper argues that religious Muslims who support feminism are disregarded, even though in-depth studies have repeatedly pointed to their existence. The authors provide a large-scale analysis of support for Muslim feminism. Conducting latent class analyses on 64,000 Muslims in 51 Middle Eastern and North African contexts, they find that a substantial one in five Arab Muslims combines high attachment to Islam with support for feminism.
The authors studied the impact of feminism in some Arab countries following the Arab Spring uprising across North Africa in 2011. They assessed the specific forms of the uprisings. They also examined whether pre-existing anti-Western value and gender relations influenced the visibility and resonance of feminist norms.
Describing China’s feminist activists in relation to their political and historical circumstances, the author elucidates the development of China’s feminist movement and discusses China’s history from a feminist perspective.
A collection of essays by feminist scholars and activists in South Asia outlining the development of feminism in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan over the last decade with regard to the social embodiment of women, television representations, LGTB discourses, domestic violence, and the “new” feminism.
By demolishing the myth that feminism originated in the West, Kumari Jayawardena presents feminism as it originated in the Third World, erupting from the specific struggles of women fighting against colonial power, for education or the vote, for safety, and against poverty and inequality. Gives particular attention to Afghanistan, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and Vietnam.
To look at a brief extract of the book see also https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4018-feminism-and-nationalism-in-the-third-world
This paper aims to assess the ideology of feminism and feminist criticism, with the aim of affirming its success in Africa over the years while focusing on intra-gender relations among women as reflected in Gynotexts, namely literary texts written by women. The author finds that the present relationship between female characters in gynotexts does not promote feminist ideology but is inimical to it. Because healthy sisterhood is not often depicted This is because the lack of healthy sisterhood (though this is not necessarily inherent in women's writing) this omission detracts from the realization of the goals of the feminist movement in Africa'.
Mona Krook argues that violence against women in politics is increasingly recognised around the world as a significant barrier to women’s political participation. This article maps how this analysis emerged globally. She notes that it has multiple, parallel origins, such as: efforts by locally elected women in Bolivia in the late 1990s to theorise their experiences as political harassment and violence against women; networking by elected women in Asia (with support from global actors) to map and condemn manifestations of violence against women in politics in the mid 2000s; and initiatives in Kenya to recognize and tackle electoral gender-based violence in the late 2000s.
The authors challenge the (dominant) one-sided representations of gender in the discourses on human rights, and also transitional justice (involving new approaches to redressing recent major suffering and oppression). They examine how transitional justice and human rights institutions, as well as political institutions, impact the lives and experiences of women with references to Argentina, Bosnia, Egypt, Kenya, Peru, Sierra Leone, and Sri Lanka. They focus especially, in a variety of contexts, on the relationships between local and global forces.
The authors draw on their own experiences and intersectional identities to consider: What is Blackwom?nhood? They explore a variety of topics, such as identity, feminist activism, the environment, and decoloniality and focus on the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, location, and language. This article is designed to provoke ideas about the representation and self-expression of Black women and their implication for critical feminist theorising of Black women’s role in activism, academia, and the workplace.
Mackinnon argues that, under the right conditions, small simple actions can produce large complex effects, and that seemingly minor positive interventions in the legal realm can have a butterfly effect that generates major social and cultural transformations. Mackinnon connects the theory of social causality to a wide-ranging exploration of gender inequality, sexual harassment, rape, pornography and prostitution. His aim is to encourage political activism and promote equality socially and legally.
Discusses the evolution of the idea of feminism over the centuries in China and what may be called a “proto-feminism” concept, known as the Daodejing. Classical Chinese philosophy has influenced and helped shape what feminism is today in China. Dessie Miller analyzed the use of language in the Daodejing to demonstrate the feminine imagery throughout the text. She also deconstructed the characters that bear significance for feminist interpretations for the Dao and Yin-Yang in order to analyse their deeper meaning. Finally, she compared Confucianism and Daoism in order to provide a broader context and to show how they differ from each other. Lastly, she used contemporary feminist figures—such as Li Ruzhen, Qiu Jin, and the “Beijing Five”—as examples to show how Daoism was a precursor to and how it helped shape feminism in what is today’s China.
Examines the interplay of Islam, history, and feminism and views it in the legal context of Indonesia. The author uses social movement theory to examine how women’s movements here have organized and mobilized resources to achieve certain goals in this specific socio-political context.
For further research, see also: Poerwandari, Elizabeth Kristi, Ratna Batara Munti and Jackie Viemilawati (2018) “Pro-women's policy advocacy movements in Indonesia: Struggles and reflections”, Asian Journal of Women's Studies, Vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 489-509; and Wariyatun Wariyatun (2019) Creating zero tolerance for violence against women, Asian Journal of Women's Studies, Vol. 25, no 3, pp. 459-467.
Explores the use of power over women in post-colonial Pakistan, Bangladesh and India.
The number of women in positions of power and authority in Japanese companies has remained small despite the increase in the number of educated women and the laws on gender equality. Kumiko Nemoto challenges claims that the surge in women’s education and employment will logically lead to the decline of gender inequality and eventually improve women’s status in the Japanese workplace. Interviews with diverse groups of workers at three Japanese financial companies and two cosmetics companies in Tokyo reveal the persistence of vertical sex segregation as a cost-saving measure. Women’s progress is impeded by corporate customs such as pay and promotion, track-based hiring of women, long working hours, and the absence of women leaders. Gender equality for common businesses requires that Japan fundamentally depart from its postwar methods of business management. Comparison with the situation in the United States makes the author’s analysis of the Japanese case relevant for understanding the dynamics of the glass ceiling in U.S. workplaces as well.
This article explores some feminist voices from India, especially one of a Dalit feminist, and two Northeastern feminists, and identifies certain views on common issues that bind them together. It also looks into the different priorities of each of these feminists, in order to understand the contexts, cultures and experiences that have shaped their primary concerns.
Men have an important role as allies in reducing discrimination against women. Using the Social Identity Model of Collective Action (SIMCA), the authors examined whether men's identification with women would predict their allied collective actions. They also examined whether men’s identification with their own group would reduce their willingness to improve women's situation. They found that moral beliefs and a sense of group efficacy made men more likely to join in collective action to combat discrimination against women. They also discuss the possible role of norms and concept of legitimacy in society in explaining the pattern of results.
Debates how intersectional feminism is relevant to the Middle East, in relation to a different conception of class, ethnicity and social status from the West. It examines whether a fixed understanding of feminism – based on a westernized value system - might be detrimental to the achievement of women’s rights in Middle Eastern societies.
Analyzes the current feminist actors, organizations and debates around gender equality and feminist perspectives in order to provide an overview of feminist ideas and actors in India. It shows that feminism today is the constant questioning of the world we perceive and the boundaries we encounter.
This article studies post-2000 Chinese feminist activism from a generational perspective. It operationalises three notions of generation - 1) generation as an age cohort; 2) generation as a historical cohort; and 3) "political generation" - to shed light on the question of generation and generational change in post-socialist Chinese feminism. The study shows how the younger generation of women have come to the forefront of feminist protest in China and how the historical conditions they live in have shaped their feminist outlook. In parallel, it examines how a "political generation" emerges when feminists of different ages are drawn together by a shared political awakening and collaborate across age.
Following the #MeToo movement and #TimeIsUp campaign, Rottenberg argues that the current neoliberal context that reduces everything to market calculation requires that a new wave of feminism should reorient and reclaim itself as a social justice movement.
Interview with Fatima Sadiqi, professor of Linguistics and Gender Studies, on the discourse around feminism, Islam, gender equality, social justice and democracy in Morocco.
Explores the divisions in the feminist movement in Pakistan and how feminists see or silence the intersections between sexuality, religion, race and class in the struggle for equality in Pakistan. It contextualises the analysis within the legacies of colonial relations, nationalist reformation, development policies and neoliberal economies, including new forms of militarism introduced with the global war on terror, and the transformations of the political space across Pakistan’s political history.
This chapter provides an overview of Brazilian feminist and women's movements since the 1970s, showing how dialogues with the state began and eventually led to the establishment of Women's Policy Agencies at different governmental levels, as well as in the different branches of government. It demonstrates that, despite these setbacks, state feminism in its participatory form continues to be an important instrument in the fight for gender equality in Brazil. The chapter deals with a periodization of feminist struggles in Brazil, tracing the emergence and consolidation of state feminism and the challenges it encountered up to more recent years. It examines how state feminism in Brazil has furthered women's struggles in combating their underrepresentation in formal politics, confronting violence against women, and advancing state support for the exercise of women's reproductive rights, focusing on the legalization of abortion.
Rita Segato, an Argentine-Brazilian academic and one of the most celebrated Latin American feminists, comments on the biases still affecting cases of femicide in Latin America due to the hyper machismo culture. She also discusses the need to unite academics working in the field of Communication, journalists and editors in order to promote discourses that encourage women to be seen as political actors rather than merely as victims.
This paper discusses the hegemony of U.S. White middle-class feminism and examines seven limitations that make it inapplicable in non-Western societies, and specifically in Middle Eastern countries. These limitations include (a) ignoring the cultural, historical, and political systems that shape women in the Middle East; (b) misinterpretation of some religious practices; (c) generalizing women's conditions; (d) universalizing Western values; (e) playing the role of the savior; (f) ignoring the influence of Western imperialism; and (g) ignoring women's strengths and actual needs. Finally, this paper included suggestions that can be taken into consideration to reduce the gap between U.S. White middle-class feminism and other types of feminisms in the Middle East.
Discusses what Arab women could do to shape the meaning of the term “feminism”, and how does the legacy of previous generations of Arab feminists intersects with globalised movements like ‘Me Too’.
A collection of essays by a leading feminist, that responds to the rapid social change resulting from the latest renewal of feminism both in North America and worldwide. It starts with a long new essay ‘Silence is broken’, which explores the many ways in which not only women but other vulnerable groups have been silenced. The author notes that this is a book that ‘deals with men who are ardent feminists as well as men who are rapists’ and that ‘this is a feminist book, yet it is not about women’s experience alone.’
Discusses the new theoretical strand within Chinese feminism that has been forming since 2010 up to 2018, which, for lack of a programmatic label, the author calls “socialist feminism.”
Reconstructs the history of female-oriented societies by retracing sacred feminine art or ‘Venus Art’ in order to retrieve women friendly egalitarian cultures with particular attention to East Asia.
Elucidates the structural oppression of women of colour to which white feminism contributes in the United States. The article highlights the connection between white feminism and liberal and conservative policies and ideologies.
Frames gender equality as a social and economic issue, rather than merely a female issue. It also touches upon three campaigns for gender equality: Feminism 1.0 launched by activist Gloria Steinem under the slogan ‘She For She’; Feminism 2.0 led by actress Emma Watson at the UN under the slogan ‘HeForShe’; and Modern FeMENism 3.0 developed under the slogan ‘We For We’ aimed at bringing men and women together to recognise that equality is in everyone’s best interest.
Analyses gender in the Muslim world, particularly in Pakistan. Zia chronicles secular feminism and its past and ongoing achievements, and explores the limits of faith-based politics in the country.
Palestinian women’s bodies constitute a central site of the struggle between the Zionist state and Palestinian ‘citizens’ in Israel. At the intersection of critical feminist and settler colonial studies scholarship and drawing on empirical data collected in 2013–2014, this paper argues that Israel’s continuous drive to control Palestinian women’s bodies plays a pivotal role in the completion of the Zionist project.