Feminism as a theory is believed to have first emerged as early as 1794 through publications championing of a woman’s place in society. The motive behind this theory was the issue of women enjoying limited rights as a result of men’s flawed perception and view of women. The theory also sought to address societal issues such as gender inequality with a focus on both men’s and women’s roles in society, interests, experiences, chores, and involvement in a wide range of fields from education and philosophy to politics and communication. The feminism principle further aimed at addressing a number of issues such as discrimination, sexual objectification, patriarchy, stereotyping, and oppression all of which demeaned the women in society. A question that has and continues to be asked is whether we are now in a “post-feminist” era where feminism is no longer relevant. People have various opinions and answers to this question.
According to Shiva (1988), feminism became common and was widespread in the post-colonial period that was marked with the development of industries and infrastructure with a number of colonies gaining independence. The post-colonial period was characterized by incessant development that had adverse effects such as ecological destruction thus triggering the involvement of women in restoring and conserving the natural environment. Between the 1970s and 90s, women were mainly involved in a number of societal issues highlighting their commitment to fighting for the woman’s place in society. One of the prominent women who championed for women’s rights and equality with men is Wangari Maathai. She is remembered for founding the Green Belt Movement of Kenya in 1977 whose focus was on the protection of the rights of women as well as conservation of the environment (Maathai & Green Belt Movement, 2003).
Fast forward, feminism appears not to be strong enough or relevant to today’s society. From the early 2000s to present, women’s push for equality and equity in society has borne minimal fruits as was the dream of prominent women such as Wangari Maathai. In a number of fields today, the focus is more on men than women underscoring the fact that feminism is no longer relevant to today’s society (Bennett, 2007). For instance, media platforms such as television, books, and newspapers are created or centered predominantly by men and revolve around stories of men. A similar situation can be seen in the sports sector with reports showing that in a country such as the UK, women sports only make up a mere 7 percent of sports coverage (Necati, 2017). This is also witnessed in the U.S. film industry where women only make up 7 percent of film directors on the top 200 U.S. films. The same can be witnessed in the global political scene with a mere 23 percent of global parliamentarians being women (Necati, 2017). In addition to representation, women are at the center of all the challenges and sufferings encountered by humans around the world. Undoubtedly, this is against the beliefs and anticipations of feminists who foresaw a society where men and women would enjoy equal rights and benefits. Unfortunately, research shows that women in today’s society are more likely to live in poverty as compared to men with women of color being hit hardest.
Overall, the argument that we are now in a “post-feminist” era where feminism is no longer relevant cannot be refuted. Today’s society seems to focus more on men that women. Men enjoy a greater percentage of representation in a number of sectors including sports, film, politics, and others. Women are also more likely to face challenges such as poverty and abuse of human right, and this is against the feminism principle.
Bennett, N. (2007, March 12). A Post-Feminist Age? Think Again. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2007/mar/12/buildingfeministwalls
Maathai, W., & Green Belt Movement (Society: Kenya). (2003). The Green Belt Movement: Sharing the approach and the experience. New York: Lantern Books.
Necati (2017, March 08). To Those Who Say We Live in A Post-Feminist Society – Get Real. Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/international-womens-day-post-feminism-get-real-a7617786.html
Shiva, V. (1988). Staying alive: Women, ecology, and development. London: Zed Books.