From dungarees to orgasm gap: three women about today’s feminism Yesterday, 18:26 in Binnenland The feminist movement is expanding. How do feminists themselves view this development?

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Participants in the Feminist March on March 5, 2023
NOS News
  • Iris Houben

    editor online

In the run-up to International Women’s Day, a few thousand people took to the streets in Amsterdam on Sunday for the Feminist March. For the first time under a new name, because until this year the march was still called the Women’s March. According to the organization, it’s about time, because “feminism is no longer just for women”.

The name change seems to symbolize a broadening of the feminist movement. Today’s feminists, for example, want more attention for non-binary or trans people and believe that there should be more attention for cultural diversity.

Enaam Ahmed Ali, board member of Feminist March Netherlands and representative in the UN Women’s Council, also sees that the themes that are raised within feminism are becoming increasingly diverse. “We are no longer just talking about breaking the glass ceiling, but also about climate or technology. It is about everything that affects us in life.”

For her, the change to a Feminist March is therefore an important step. “If you only start thinking in boxes and compartments, you won’t solve anything”.

‘Feminist to the coffin’

As far as former minister Hedy d’Ancona is concerned, this expansion is good news. “There have always been men who are feminists. This indicates that men, queers and trans people are also faced with discrimination.” She is not afraid that women will be snowed under by all other interests. “That’s nonsense. Feminism is about equal rights for everyone, regardless of your gender or sexuality.”

As co-founder of the action group Man Woman Society, the self-proclaimed ‘feminist to the core’ stood at the cradle of the second wave of feminism. Together with Joke Kool-Smits, d’Ancona opposed the idea that women should become mothers. They propagated that women could make more decisions about their own lives, for example through better education, but also through the right to abortion.

Compared to her own time, D’Ancona thinks the word “feminist” is now more accepted. “People used to think feminism was about burning bras and wearing dungarees. That’s really not the case anymore.”

Yet the activist touch is gone, as far as she is concerned. “We sometimes have large demonstrations, but that is not accompanied by as much fuss as then.”

System Critical

On a day like today, there are also critical voices. For example, International Women’s Day would have become too commercial and many companies use the day as a marketing ploy.

Nevertheless, Madeleijn van den Nieuwenhuizen, legal historian and the brain behind the Zeikschrift platform, thinks it is good that gender equality is put on the agenda every year: “Men and women are equal before the law, but that does not mean that there is no inequality.”

She sees feminism today as a lively movement, where more and more people feel at home. She does think that superficiality should be avoided. For example, in her Volkskrant essay on this subject, she stated that, as far as she was concerned, feminists should be more critical of the system instead of talking about “easily digestible topics” such as censoring nipples or the orgasm gap.

As far as Ahmed Ali is concerned, International Women’s Day remains important to pay attention to the position of women, but such a day alone is not enough. “A lot has to change at the policy level, not only here in the Netherlands but also internationally,” she says. “That’s where the real work lies.”

  • Thousands of participants Feminist March in Amsterdam, and not only women
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  • Strike actions, a day off and flowers on International Women’s Day
  • International Women’s Day: still plenty to win in the Netherlands too
  • Interior

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