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Women Upgrading Our Century's 20s

After analyzing a set of nowadays world issues and providing concrete examples, Clara Palmisano elaborates here a reflection on the role and necessity of the feminist vision for the near future.

"Here we are, 2019. Human rights are still not respected, "feminists with exclusionary views" still exist, the most vulnerable is always targeted, everyone is broke and let’s not mention the right wing/pro-life movements rising. Now, it may be negative but it sounds way too familiar. The 20s are again soon upon us and there are too many things to leave behind from last century. May we actively unlearn racism and sexism and constantly self-check for the elimination of stubbornness with which we cling to useless social constructs. Time is up, it is evident from recent events and women are taking the lead.

India is a great example: the Gulabi Gang is fighting widespread domestic abuse, violence and caste oppression in their beautiful pink sarees, and other groups are creating “human walls” against injustice, like that in Kerala for equality.

In USA, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent a lifetime thriving in the face of gender-based discrimination, fighting for efficient social security and equal pay, starting off with declaring the 1971 Idaho Code, specifying that "males must be preferred to females" in appointing administrators of estates, as unconstitutional (Reed v Reed). She might have paved the way to what US Congress is starting to look like now: the democratic party is celebrating firsts from the last elections. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became America’s youngest congresswoman, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar the first Muslim congresswomen, Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland the first Native American congresswomen, and Ayanna Pressley the first Black woman to represent Massachusetts in Congress. But there is still a long way to go, women will make up only 25% of Congress.

In Italy, Laura Boldrini, Italian journalist and politician, former President of the Chamber of Deputies and previously spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, just won a court hearing against a Lega Nord mayor who, by wishing upon her rape “to make her smile again”, used sexism as a political weapon. Progressive women in the public spotlight have it hard, for their success is not normalized and being comfortable in their own skin is still regarded as too radical.

Feminism must be intersectional, it is time to stop all types of oppressions. The “capitalism of the patriarchy” sees diversity as a consequence of hierarchical power. What is fundamental is to express our differences, embrace them to halt the patriarchy’s goals of uniformity and coercion. For instance, poor women of colour are treated as scapegoats for overpopulation, ordinary poor consumers for climate change, transgender and indigenous peoples for spreading AIDS (when they were the first to be denied reproductive and healthcare rights by the white owning class). Lately, a sort of ecosocialist philosophy has become popular, and the election of democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is proof. Movements all over the world advocate for the continuation of life on our planet, such as the Chipko movement in India, European demilitarization movements, that against waste in the US, and the Green Belt in Kenya, among others.

Feminism without any focus on climate change is futile because there is no liberation without a life-sustaining Earth to live on. Ecofeminism exists too. Our concerns must collaborate and go beyond our prompt convenience. The environment is a feeding, loving and renewing ally for all humans. Intergovernmental reports, tragic weather events are too scary to be ignored. We have enough technology and resources to reverse into a pollution-free system, but there is a scarce investment as it does not benefit those male-run multinationals at the top, responsible for 71% of the world’s gas emissions.

For the record, a lot of people think feminism is misandrist when it is not. It simply focuses on the female perspective on social, political and economic intersectional issues and there is no reason why men cannot join us for a better, fruitful future. The shift that the last feminist wave had is misinterpreted mainly by social media. It is not just a trend, it is a serious political and historical movement. However, Its importance is lessened by people and companies that advocate superficially in order to appear “socially responsible”, only giving power to kyriarchal ideologies which tear us down."

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