HOW MODERN IS MODERN FEMINISM?

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The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is ‘Press for Progress’. Based on the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report findings that gender parity is over 200 years away, the idea is to take the day to make a loud statement: we’ve got work to do. But before we talk about where we want to go, let’s take a second to celebrate where we’re at, writes Imali Hettiarachchi, Strategist at BBH.

100 years after some women got the vote, feminism is enjoying another seismic moment. Look at how female empowerment is pervading modern culture today. Frances McDormand used her Best Actress Oscars speech to salute all women making strides in the industry, demanding that Hollywood’s decision makers pick the phone up and schedule meetings with them. Black Panther seems to be smashing a new box office record every day and I defy any woman, of any colour, not to walk out of the cinema feeling an inch taller. In a fictitious (and more desirable) White House, we’re about to see Claire Underwood take the helm. And most significantly of all, #MeToo has grown from a hashtag to a game-changing global protest against sexual harassment.

So cheers to that, ladies.

But what about modern feminism? This seems to be a movement so criticised and so divisive, without any clear consensus over what it really means. Is it really only for white middle-class women? Does being pro-women really mean being anti-men? Do we really understand how this movement is working and who it’s working for?

It’s a strategist’s job to have a decent grip on the world around them, and now more than ever in these fragmented times, the world beyond them. So to understand modern feminism from a different perspective to my own, I wanted to talk to young British Muslim women. Here you’ll find my paper on the conversations I had with six women, each of whom seemed to have a unique take on this subject (roughly a 20 minute read). Feminism is something I’ve always prided myself on having a strong understanding of, but throughout these conversations, I found myself getting schooled. More than a few times.

So in the spirit of progress, let’s keep talking about how we evolve our modern feminist narrative. Let’s keep thinking about how we can make it more inclusive of different demographics of women. Let’s keep striving to use our professional power to better understand and therefore better represent a fuller spectrum of the modern female experience.

Happy International Women’s day all. Let’s get to work.

 

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