Do we need feminists?

Below is a passage from an article originally published in The Atlantic,  How to Get More Women (and Men) to Call Themselves Feminists.  Feminism is a word that often has negative connotations  few being willing to identify as such.  However, feminism could be the key to lifting women and girls out of poverty.

‘When asked “Are you a feminist?” most Americans say no. A recent Huffington Post/YouGovpoll is typical: Only 23 percent of women and 16 percent of men identified as “feminist.” Accomplished women as diverse as Taylor Swift, Sandra Day O’Connor, Marissa Mayer, and Beyoncé object to the designation.

The emancipation of women is one of the glories of Western civilization and one of the great chapters in the history of freedom. Why is the term that describes that heritage in such disrepute?

Some will say the movement is receding because it has achieved its essential goals. So why not let it fade from the scene? That is an understandable but mistaken conclusion. Though the major battles for equality and opportunity in the United States have been fought and largely won, the work of feminism remains unfinished. Across the globe, fledgling women’s groups struggle to survive in the face of genuine and often violent oppression. In the West, popular culture contains strong elements of misogyny. Women, far more than men, struggle with the challenge of combining work and family. Despite women’s immense progress, poverty rolls are disproportionately filled with women with children.

Who needs feminism? We do. The world does. But an effective women’s movement needs to be rescued from its current outcast state. Anyone who cares about improving the status of women around the world should be working to create a women’s movement that resonates with women. A reality-based, male-respecting, judicious feminism could greatly help women both in the United States and throughout the world. I call it “freedom feminism.”

…My advice to today’s young women: Reform feminism. Give moderate and conservative women a voice. Most of all, make common cause with women across the globe who are struggling for their basic freedoms. Supporting truly oppressed women would give today’s Western feminism something it has lacked for many years: a contemporary purpose worthy of its illustrious past.’

Read the entire article here.


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