In many ways things have seemed to be getting worse for women over the past few years. It’s well-documented that the recent fiscal austerity has hit women particularly hard: the benefit cuts for lone parents, for instance, overwhelmingly and disproportionately affect women. So on International Women’s Day 2014 what I’m finding especially inspirational is a sense that we’re seeing the beginnings of a new wave of feminism – what’s being called the ‘Fourth Wave’.
This new wave – discussed by Kira Cochrane in The Guardian last December – is most visible as web-based popular protest against the ways in which women are defined and controlled. So the website PinkStinks , for instance, campaigns against the gendering of children’s toys. Walk into most supermarkets and you’ll find an aisle full of blue trucks and space sets for boys and an aisle of pink princess outfits for girls. It’s no wonder that so few girls go into STEM subjects like engineering or chemistry when they’re so clearly told from so early on that these aren’t for them. (And why on earth would anyone buy their daughter a miniature pink cleaning trolley to play with?)
The Everyday Sexism Project makes sobering reading for anyone who thinks that sexism is a thing of the past.
And the No More Page 3 Petition even has the backing of Girlguiding UK.
These individual protests help us to make important connections across the many different ways in which woman are still held back. And they suggest a popular feminism that is already making a difference.
With thanks to Lucy and Angela at No More Page Three for use of their logo.