Feminism: still relevant, still necessary

September 2, 2011

It has become a cliche in mainstream media and political discourse that feminism is no longer necessary in society. However many ordinary women disagree.

Green Left Weekly asked members of the newly formed Feminist Collective of South Australia about feminism’s relevance today.

Emma Gray-Starcevic said: “Women still earn on average 17% less than men in Australia, and are under-represented in a huge number of jobs, especially in industries such as law, business and politics — jobs synonymous with high wages and powerful positions.

“I am a feminist because I want people to realise that women are scarcely found in these positions not because there is a shortage of talented, skilled women who want the job but because they face constant disadvantages that men do not.

“Men are hired over women not because they are more suited to the job but simply because employers prefer to hire male employees for high-ranking jobs.

“Besides this, if a woman has a child she is immediately disadvantaged in her career. While she takes time out during pregnancy raising her child, her male colleagues continue to climb the ladder, leaving her with a disadvantage when she returns to the workforce. Employers are well aware of this and many still view hiring women as ‘a risk’.”

Tani Louise said: “We must always remember, even if it were true (and it’s not) that we have equal rights in the West, it is not true in every culture. The adage ‘inequality anywhere is a threat to equality everywhere’ holds true.

“How often do we hear: ‘well someone else has it worse, so you have no right to complain.’ Others having a ‘worse’ case of inequality is seen as an excuse to erode the rights won elsewhere. That can’t be allowed to happen.”

Connie Marguerite Musolino said: “Feminism means to me freeing the body and self from restrictive gender norms, which exclude individuality and the right to experience one’s own sexual orientation, career, family dynamics and cultural expression without being discriminated against.”

Nijole Naujokas was angered by having to “see examples of men getting away with sexual assault, the victim-blaming culture in law and domestic violence”.


A refreshing article and I hope it gets picked up elswhere/goes viral. Just wish the mainstream media would be more intelligent in its coverage of feminism (perhaps one idealistic thought too far?! - ahem). Unfortunately, the backlash against feminism continues unimpeded by men, startling numbers of young women and women who believe feminism is not relevant to their lives and yet understand nothing of the history of feminism and women's rights - besides right-wing women like Catherine Hakim (in her anti-feminist new book, Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital) and Cristina Odone, as but recent two high recent profile women who celebrate pejorative male attitudes towards women. Best wishes @bobbygw bit.ly/o6EjVT http://www.bobbygwpr.wordpress.com
I agree that it is as relevent as ever, but my question is: Feminism has morphed into multiple feminisms that have left many confused, disheartened and, eventually uninterested. Where is it all going? Many women feel that feminism has simply divided itself into many diverse, sometimes contradictory positions that many simply have no time for. It is this that many feel has left them feeling disconnected from the basic premise that feminism is an ideology to articulate the frustration felt by many. Feminists have simply divided themselves up into arguing groups and diluted the potential for change. Also, feminism has not addressed the need for collaboration to make the changes desired happen. It just seems to me that they are angry people who don't really want issues solved, merely to push their own agendas along. Not attractive!

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