What is feminism?
The Cambridge Dictionary describes feminism in the following way:
“The belief that women should be allowed the same rights, power, and opportunities as men and be treated in the same way, or the set of activities intended to achieve this state.”
Given this definition, most people would describe themselves as a feminist.
There are many who feel that all that is necessary for one to be a feminist is to hold this belief.
However, there are some who feel that there is more to being a feminist than simply believing in it. That Feminism is about ‘doing’ what is needed to address inequity and imbalance.
What do feminist do?
Advocate for – safety, equal rights, equal respect, equal opportunities, respect for diversity, and ending inequality, injustice, white privilege and racism.
Feminist may do this in their personal lives: by embracing feminist principles and by raising their children to hold feminist values by standing up for their beliefs.
Some feminists become activists advocating for: An end to practices that are harmful to women and children – female genital mutilation, sex trafficking, child marriage, forced marriage, domestic violence, sexual abuse and racist inequality.
Ending men’s violence against women. This can include providing direct support and advocating for women who have experienced abuse. Increasing community awareness and campaigning through activities like: Reclaim the Night, social media. And supporting organisations such as ‘Destroy the Joint’ and DVNSW.
You can support these issues too by expressing your concerns to your local members and signing petitions that call for support for women who are victims violence and abuse and seek to improve funding for available services. This can include emergency help lines, well-trained police, women’s refuges, domestic violence services, public awareness campaigns, self-defence training, rape crisis centres and the like.
Addressing racism, colonisation and Intergenerational Trauma – recognising that colonisation, injustice and inequality continue to impact the lives of Aboriginal people in Australia. And working to model genuine and meaningful relationships, address internal and external racism and privilege, and supporting Aboriginal rights and services.
Challenging sexist attitudes – with others and in advertising and media.
Supporting Reproductive rights – promoting the need for access to sexual health centres, contraception, legal and safe abortion, pre and postnatal care, health education.
Promoting women in leadership roles – supporting more women in leadership positions, from business to politicians; more women at the helm in media and film making; more female protagonists in the stories we tell in film and books etc.
Fighting for equal pay – Working to address inequality at all levels. In 2019 women currently earn 86% of what men do and this situation is getter worse not better as time goes on.