Monday 19 January 2009

Chatting about feminism

Is there a new feminist movement or just an illusion of one? Certainly the debate at the feminism session at the Fabian New Year conference was one of the most interesting debates I have been to for a while.
Firstly, because I had not seen the panel anywhere else before, and secondly because it crossed three age groups, people in their 20s, people in their 30s (am guessing this is where Johann Hari and Zoe Williams are) and Patricia Hewitt, who announced she was nearing 60.
Rather than an old-style debate, this was more like a conversation wandering through the audience. There were no definitive answers. Only questions. But there was a sense that young women in their 20s were often not happy to be connected with the word "feminism" because they didn't feel it applied to them.
Others were dismissive of this, because they felt it wasn't acknowledging the contributions of feminists of the past.
But surely that is irrelevant, if young women who broadly believe in equal pay, and broad equality, chose not to consider themselves feminists is there a problem.
Maybe not. Perhaps it doesn't matter at all what people call themselves, if they come together to fight for particular policies or positions.

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