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Feminism; the current state of art

“Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short and wear shirts and boots because it’s okay to be a boy; for girls it’s like promotion. But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading, according to you, because secretly you believe that being a girl is degrading.”

– Ian McEwan, The Cement Garden

In this mini-series, we explore feminism; what are its main accomplishments and challenges? What role does it plays in different societies today? And is feminism still relevant today? What are the main resources to learn about feminism?

We cannot discuss modern-day feminism without acknowledging the different situations of women and girls in different regions of the world. That is why different articles explore feminism in different parts of the world.

What is feminism?

Feminism is the advocacy for women’s rights based on the belief that all genders should be equal, politically, economically and socially speaking, and that all genders should have equal rights and opportunities. It is a reaction to the phenomenon that, in practically every society in the world, men hold primary power and dominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property. 

Men’s predominant roles result in, for example, more boys than girls going to school, women being paid less for the same work, underrepresentation of women in government positions and positions of power and sexual violence against women. Feminists see this situation as unjust, and so they fight for a society in which all genders have equal opportunities. 

While it is sometimes assumed that feminists want women to take over men’s dominant roles, this is not the case. Instead, feminism strives for the empowerment of women and non-binary people to realise their full rights and potential. As women have been the second sex for so long, feminism is simply about levelling the playing field between genders. Equal rights for all genders is not a threat to men’s rights, only to their privilege.