Feminism has been the central ideology that has represented the fight for women’s rights for a long time. It will be untrue to say that the movement has not achieved its goals.
In the four waves of its existence, the movement has helped women break many barriers through affirmative action and protests. Today, in most parts of the world, women are granted equal political rights, while also getting equal social rights.
Most nations also have strong sexual harassment laws that go beyond the usual definitions of the infamous crime.
However, the movement has also had many pitfalls. Has it fallen prey to the same privileged structure it seemed to reform? We find out in this article.
WHAT ARE THE PROBLEMS WITH FEMINISM?
A 2017 report by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN says that women are more likely to be food insecure than men in every region of the world. The United States Department of Agriculture says that in 2018 households with children headed by a single woman were the most likely group to experience very low food security – more than double the national average. The affordable-housing crisis disproportionately impacts women as well. Women earn less on the dollar than men doing similar work, which means households supported by women are paying larger-than-average proportions of income toward rent. Across a lifetime, this means much less disposable income and greater difficulty achieving financial security and independence. This is especially clear when you look at people in abusive relationships.
Let’s talk about the menace of gun violence. Reports say that a gun is more deadly for women. The presence of a gun in an abusive relationship makes it five times more likely for a woman to be killed.
What does all this tell us? Somewhere, feminism has lost the plot. While it has chosen to ignore the intersection of class, race and sexuality with gender, it has gone on to represent the issues of a few very privileged women. The fact that poverty is affecting women disproportionately has been left out of the agenda.
This is not to say that other issues are not important. What you choose to make your central plank is important. The issues that you leave out become important. In this process, feminism loses the voices of many of its allies.
It is really important for the movement to become more inclusive of the voices of women as it grows in this age.