Earlier in May, I went to listen to Beatrix Campbell talk about her new book, ‘The End Of Equality.‘
I was struck by how many older women were in the audience. Women who battled through the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, pushing and shouting for changes for us all. I felt a little in awe if I’m honest with you. I owe those women such a debt, it was quite overwhelming to be in the same room as them, knowing they had fought for me.
Listening to Bea, I became very aware that we, as feminists, had reached a stalemate situation. She talked about the current situation and the lack of any real changes. Initially, I was annoyed with her belief that my (our) generation hadn’t changed anything, and then I realised she was right.
Looking back over the second wave, it is apparent that the gains that were made were significant, and gave hope to many women that yes, things were changing.
Refuges, Rape Crisis centres, Equal Pay Act, Abortion, contraception. Women were able to get mortgages, loans, work full time.
These are only a snapshot of the gains made by our foremothers. They fought for a better future for women, and they lost so much as we stand here and survey our current landscape and the disputes between different strands of feminist thinking.
Liberal feminism is really neo-liberal feminism. The culture of choice and empowerment. It’s an illusion. There are no choices. Not really.
What gains have been made? Nothing of any significance. Oh sure, there are small concessions offered but these are simply to shut us up. If they made any real difference we wouldn’t get them.
Don’t believe me? Look at how many years women have been campaigning against male violence.
What’s changed? Nothing. The women’s sector has been decimated, cut and funding withdrawn. Male violence against women has increased and we are no closer to signing the Istanbul convention than we were in 2005.
There is a steady erosion of rights. Hard fought rights, such as abortion.
Women are vilified, assaulted, abused, raped, beaten, murdered, kidnapped, sold.
That’s our equality right there.
We are being played for fools.
The patriarchy has no intention of recognising women as equals. It’s never going to happen because no one, but NO ONE ever gives up their power.
So what do we do?
Many of us are disillusioned with the current political parties and horrified at the rise of the far right.
We have set up a Facebook page to discuss how we can co-ordinate our activism and campaigning, and a twitter account to signal boost women’s activism.
We also have a website to collate and connect groups around the UK.
We have twelve months to make a difference in the political landscape, and if we want to make sure that we halt the right wing tide, we need to unite.
Whatever your passion is, whatever your political leanings; come and join us. Connect with other women in your area and rise up.