What Is Feminism?
IWDA is a proudly feminist organisation.
We exist to advance and protect the rights of diverse women and girls. Our vision is gender equality for all, and we’re working towards this through our program partnerships; movement building across Asia Pacific; and research, policy and advocacy, in Australia, the region, and the world.
We’re not the only international development organisation tackling women’s rights. But we’re the only one doing it through a specifically feminist lens.
Feminism means a million things to a million people. We’re not in the business of defining the exact terms of anyone else’s feminism, but we do want to clarify the basics.
So what does feminism mean to us?
Quite simply, feminism is about all genders having equal rights and opportunities.
It’s about respecting diverse women’s experiences, identities, knowledge and strengths, and striving to empower all women to realise their full rights.
It’s about levelling the playing field between genders, and ensuring that diverse women and girls have the same opportunities in life available to boys and men.
Where does intersectionality come into it?
Inclusivity is a core part of our feminism. You may have heard the phrases ‘intersectionality’ or ‘intersectional feminism’ cropping up more and more lately. Intersectionality has recently taken on more space in public discussions about feminism, but it’s not new.
Intersectional feminism can seem complicated, but it’s really just about acknowledging the interplay between gender and other forms of discrimination, like race, age, class, socioeconomic status, physical or mental ability, gender or sexual identity, religion, or ethnicity.
The barriers faced by a middle class woman living in Melbourne are not the same as those of a queer woman living in rural Fiji. Women aren’t just exposed to sexism – racism, ableism, ageism, homophobia, transphobia, and religious persecution are intrinsically linked to how they experience inequality.
Can anyone be a feminist?
Yes! Being a feminist simply means believing in equal rights for all genders. It’s not about hating men. It’s not about women being better than men. It’s not about eschewing femininity.
Feminism doesn’t mean one person’s experiences are more important than another.
It isn’t about creating a sliding scale of who is worse off – it’s about learning and understanding the ways that inequality affect women and men, and remembering that we’re all in this together. True equality leaves no one behind.
We don’t claim to be authorities on anyone else’s feminism, but to us, acknowledging how different forms of discrimination intersect with and amplify gender-based discrimination is a critical way to ensure all women reap the benefits of women’s rights.