YWCA Southeast Wisconsin
  •  Donate Join Our Email List

March 2018

By Martha Barry, Racial Justice Director, YWCA Southeast Wisconsin


Is the Feminism Movement Inclusive of All Women?

March is Women’s History Month. Time to reflect on women’s roles in social change movements. Feminism. A broad advocacy movement to advance conditions and rights for all women. Women have played important roles in getting the vote (the suffragette movement); fighting for equal rights for women to own property and be in corporate boardrooms; and demanding equal pay for equal work. Movements advance the rights and voices of all women.

Today, we need a movement for little girls to grow up being strong, powerful and aware that sexual harassment, abuse or rape is not to be tolerated, accepted, or assumed. Too many of us, as little girls, adolescents, young adults and adults were “obsessed” with beauty standards, or were socialized to see ourselves as sexual objects to be ogled or objectified, or simply not given good information about what it means to be fully female. Important work for us, as females, to reclaim our full female-ness.

So why is it that, reclaiming our female-ness and calling ourselves feminists and fighting for our female bodies and minds, has been tied to whiteness? The suffragette movement fought against civil rights for black Americans.What has happened to us, as white females, that our experience is what is held up as central to the #MeToo movement? MeToo was started by Tarana Burke, a Black woman, over 10 years ago. Is this an inclusive stance?

Black, brown and indigenous women face historic levels of male domination, harassment, violence, murder, suicide, and abuse. Yet the voices and stories of these women are not dominating our consciousness. The exploitation of females, particularly females of the global majority, is too often accepted as “the way things are.” If the battle to reclaim our female bodies and minds, to be feminists advocating for all women, we must remember that while it is challenging for white women to reclaim our fully female selves, imagine how little “breathing room” there is as a woman of the global majority to claim her full female-ness.

Feminists and females claiming or reclaiming “female in every fiber” need to listen to and learn from a broad range of females. Audre Lord, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, Luisa Moreno, Fannie Lou Hamer, Dolores Huerta, Yuri Kochiyama, May Chen, and Winona La Duke. Who are the females of the global majority that you would add? I invite you to journey deeper. Let’s move feminism to be an inclusive, fully broad coalition of women whose life experiences enrich our world and embolden our future. What female story do you need to hear? 


Don't miss a single blog post.  Sign up for our 2038 Racial Justice News.

Read Previous Blog Posts

......................................................................................................................................................

The 2038 Racial Justice Blog includes monthly insight from YWCA staff and community members working for a more just and equitable Milwaukee.   Learn more about our 2038 goal.