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Expert Reaction: International Women’s Day

Posted on 8 March 2018

Dr Ann Kaloski-Naylor, from the Centre for Women’s Studies (CWS), comments on events marking International Women’s Day and Feminism in the 21st Century.

 

Local women, global feminism

“This year the annual York International Women’s Week is themed around ‘Making Women’s Voices Heard’ and includes over forty events, from a performance from a local women’s brass band, to a screening of the Saudi film Wadjda, to talks on York’s Suffrage connections and the work of human rights defenders.

“The week is part of International Women’s Day, which began as political action in the early 1900s, and  is now celebrated in many forms including ‘honouring women’ with flowers in Russia, as well as reactivating its campaigning roots through contemporary campaigns. 

“The York theme reverberates with recent media attention on the #metoo campaign against sexual harassment and abuse. Yet the decade-old backstory of #metoo – of Tarana Burke supporting New York women survivors finding their voices in more everyday ways – speaks to grassroots feminism, with women all over the world finding diverse ways to challenge oppressive behaviour and change inequitable systems.

“Only some of this activism finds a media voice and this is one reason feminist academic work is so vital. Staff and postgraduate researchers at CWS study and learn from less-celebrated women’s lives and feminist activity throughout the world, attempting to ensure that feminist understandings are not dominated by the loudest, more powerful, or most popularist voices.”

York International Women’s Week is supported by the Centre for Women’s Studies and York Human Rights City.

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