• Is feminism still relevant?

      Feminism is relatively difficult to define, both because of the breadth of the movement, which includes a wide diversity of views and some vigorous internal debate, and because it is so frequently caricatured by its opponents. A fair description might be that it is a movement committed to the pursuit of equality, notably but not exclusively sexual equality, based on an analysis of inequality which roots it in the social transformation of sex (the real, biological differences between men and women) into gender (the various ways in which men and women are perceived as having different abilities and social roles), and the ways in which gender is implicated in unequal power relationships between men and women in many areas of life. The pursuit of equality is central to feminism; to put it another way, one can be anti-racist without being feminist, but one cannot be feminist without being anti-racist. Both the forms of ‘equality’ which feminists have pursued and the analysis of ‘inequality’ which it offers have come in for sustained criticism.

      Victories such as gaining the vote, the right to an abortion and the right to equal pay were important and worth winning but Feminism has plenty more to achieve. In the UK, on average women earn 82% of men’s hourly wage; female graduates earn 19% less than their male counterparts; female pensioners live on 53% of the income of male pensioners. Also in the UK, one in four women suffers domestic violence, and an increase in the reporting of rape in the last thirty years has gone alongside a threefold drop in conviction rates. Worldwide, women do two-thirds of all work, earn one-tenth of all income and own one-hundredth of all property. Two-thirds of the world’s illiterate people are women. 300 million women have no access to contraception. More than 80% of the world’s 50 million refugees and displaced people are women and children. Every year, 2 million girls under 16 are coerced, abducted or trafficked into the sex industry. These are all real problems, on which feminists continue to campaign but should they? Any opinions