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Is Feminism dead?

I nearly cried last week when one of my work colleagues said that she is most emphatically not a feminist. The word “feminist” has taken on such a horrible connotation to it. Are feminists women who have furry armpits, don’t shave their legs and hate men? Are we radicals?

I consider myself a feminist. Why? The “battle” for equality is not over. In many industrialized countries, such as the UK and Canada, women still make less than their male counterparts. The early feminists fought for the right to vote, to be treated and recognized as “persons” under the law, and for women to have the ability to have their own bank accounts and credit cards – very simple and every day items we take for granted, but never would have happened if not for the early Feminists.

What is feminism? Wikipedia has a very lovely definition:

Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women.[1][2] This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment.

The goal is not to lessen the position of men, but to elevate women politically, economically and socially so that we can be recognized as equal to men. There is no hatred of men, as part of the “movement”. Feminists wants to be recognized for their abilities and to not be overlooked because they have a uterus.

So I nearly cried at work because here was a lady, who is taking advantage of all that previous generations have fought for, verbally turning her back on Feminism. But was it wrong of her?

Unfortunately “feminism” has taken on a negative reputation – possibly because those in establishment consider us shrieking harpies? And women who are not as politically aware do not want to be associated with something which many still consider distasteful?

There is currently a war going on in the United States, and it is spreading, with State Legislatures trying to put through laws which limit a woman’s ability to access abortion services – even if she were a rape or incest victim. There is a chill wind that is blowing down the corridors of power and women, and men, need to pay attention to what our legislators are up to.

Most recently New Mexico tried to put through a piece of legislation which would make it a crime to have an abortion in cases of rape or incest.

So for those ladies who feel secure with the fact that they can vote, own property in their own right, have their own bank accounts, work and go to school (university, college etc) – thank your feminist forebearers, without them you’d have nothing. And pay attention to what is happening politically, the fight isn’t over, we need to continually make sure our rights as humans are not trampled upon because we were born with a uterus.

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