What is feminism today? As feminist activists, we are often asked this question. Feminism today is exactly what it was from the beginning: the social movement that advocates for women's rights and equality and fights against gender-based discrimination.
Because feminism and feminist issues are very complex, our project seeks more answers with you together to the question: What is feminism today? We are constantly adding to our explanations. And we would be very happy if you participate in our project and submit a photo statement.
Feminism is a social movement.
It started about 170 years ago. We think feminism is one of the most important social movements in human history. After all, women are half of humanity. For millennia, women were not considered full human beings. Women were not allowed to vote, not allowed to go to university and not allowed to handle their own business. Those are just a few examples.
As women we owe the life, we currently live on this planet to all the people who have been fighting for women's rights and gender equality. The feminist movement has brought gender equality and about that we live in a much fairer world than 200, 100 and 50 years ago.
Feminism is about gender equality.
In many cases, feminism is unfortunately still not linked in the mainstream to what it really means. Feminism stands for the pursuit of gender equality. We want equal opportunities for all – regardless of gender and other characteristics.
It does not mean that everyone should do the same, but that everyone should have the same opportunities. The mechanisms that lead to unequal opportunities are diverse and complex. Feminism helps to identify, fathom and eliminate this mechanism.
Gender equality is a key to a fairer world for all.
Feminism is intersectional.
Not every woman has privileges such as being white, rich, able-bodied, cis and skinny. We have different experiences and identities.
In 1989, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw introduced the concept of intersectionality, which describes the overlapping of different discrimination categories such as gender, race, class, sexuality, disability and physical appearance – just to name a few. We specifically include people, who suffer from multiple systems of oppression and highlight the interaction between unequal structures.
Feminism is social progress.
Social progress describes the status of development in relation to economic, social and environmental needs of people in a society. It includes 1. basic human needs such as nutrition, access to drinking water and basic health care. The concept includes 2. basics of well-being such as access to education, to information and communication, and the state of the environment. 3. it also means opportunities for members of a society, for example in terms of personal rights, personal freedom and choice, tolerance and inclusion.
Advocating for equal opportunities for all genders means advancing social progress as a whole. Feminism is thus also an engine for social progress.
Feminism is fighting against discrimination.
Sexism is just one form of discrimination. There are more forms, such as racism, classism and ableism e.g. (Look up our post about intersectionality).
Feminism want to make the world a better place, where discrimination doesn't dictate ones everyday life. We fight against discrimination in general to have a better understanding of each other and to live interconnected. For that, we especially have to listen to the ones who are discriminated against most. It is our duty to take each other seriously.
Feminism is for autonomy.
The term autonomy comes from ancient Greek and describes personal independence. Autonomy is the state of self-determination, independence, self-governance, and freedom of decision and action.
Autonomy is the ability to make an informed, uncoerced decision and to act out of freedom.
Due to gender-based discrimination, girls and women in particular have been and continue to be denied the status of autonomy in all areas of life: forced marriage, career choice, and bodily self-determination are just a few examples. Let us name the problems and stand up for autonomy for all human beings!