In the words of Kamla Bhasin, “Gender is not a subject it’s a perspective”
Why Language Matters?
Most of the people are aware of the words in the Feminist Glossary, but might not be able to grapple with what it actually means. Centre for Social Research’s Feminist Glossary enables us to understand and grasp the political act of defining our world with a feminist lens. It explores the basis and basics of power, patriarchy, inequality and injustice. The entries in the glossary reflect the various intersecting identities and experiences in a bottom-up approach.
We also understand that no single document can capture the ever evolving diversity of women’s voices, movements, perspective and knowledge. Hence, we would further call upon the readers to engage with us so that we are able to include, improve, (re)write and be even more inclusive; and evolve together constantly.
Centre Social Research’s English Language Feminist Glossary is developed by Shruti Das and edited by Jyoti Vadehra, along with the collective expertise and experiences of various feminist educators, scholars, organisations, activists and the entire grassroots communities.
The glossary is organized into eight with the intention to conceptualise and educate the foundation of feminism, intersectionality, and various ever evolving branches.
The dictionary is organised in eight sections –
1. The Basics
3. Identity Challenges
4. Language, Knowledge & Power
7. The Society
8. The State & The Economy
9. (Social) Media Movements
Feminism isn’t a singular homogenous entity. It’s ever evolving because our social and political environment is changing constantly. Feminism is both a discourse and a perspective. It’s a theory of change and a fresh lens to look at the world with compassion and equality. The theory and action in feminism constantly converse and converge with each other and are integral parts in informed and inclusive decision making. As Srilatha Batliwala states, “Feminism stands for power to, not power over. We struggle to change the practice of power both within our own structures and movements as well as in the social, economic and political institutions we engage.” Hence, Feminism means social and political theories and concepts. In the words of Bell Hooks, Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression. Feminism is not anti-men, rather it’s anti-discrimination (of all kinds); it’s anti-patriarchy, it’s anti-sexism. Hence, men are equal partners in the struggle against patriarchy and sexism because they are the amalgamation of patriarchy and sexism is toxic masculinity which when fed and bred to men harms them equally, if not more. Thereby, Feminism is the road towards an egalitarian and violence free society.
Dalit feminism is a feminist perspective which includes the questioning of caste and gender roles as an intersection, among the Dalit population and within feminism as well as in the larger women’s movement.
Feminist theory attempts to describe and explain how gender systems work, as well as a consideration of normative or ethical issues, such as whether a society’s gender arrangements are fair. From: International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2001.
Sex attributes to the biological attributes or the bodily anatomy of humans. It comprises both the physical as well as the physiological features including chromosomes, gene expression, hormone levels and function, and reproductive/sexual anatomy. Gender and sex has often been used interchangeably, but are absolutely different from one another.
Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviour, expression and identities of people. All of us have gender roles which through socialization have been reinforced in us from our childhood through our families, religion, education, media, public policy and various other social institutions. For instance, what “masculine” and “feminine” means.
Gender roles are different in different cultures and hence are transformative in nature. The enforcement of conservative-rigid gender roles has led to backlash and targeted discrimination and violence against women, men, gays, lesbians, transgendered and others who challenge the straitjacketed-narrow, static conceptions of masculinity, femininity, and sexuality.
Gender Based Violence (GBV) is directed at an individual based on the basis of their biological sex, gender identity, or the perceived adherence to a single socially defined norm(s) of masculinity and femininity. The violence induced can occur in both public as well as private life, and sometimes can also be state led. The violence perpetrated can be physical, mental, sexual, and even psychological abuse such as – threats; coercion, arbitrary deprivation of liberty; and economic deprivation.
There are varied types of GBV – female infanticide, domestic violence, honour killings, female genital mutialation, child sexual abuse and slavery; trafficking in persons, sexual coercion and abuse; elder abuse.
Violence against Women and Gender Based Violence are often used interchangeably, but men and boys also experience GBV – domestic abuse, sexual abuse, child abuse, trafficking and slavery. Gender minorities such as gay, transgender persons, etc. experience GBV as well.
GBV has its roots in structural inequalities and is acted upon by the use and abuse of power and control – emotionally, physically, financially and/or by the virtue of age.
Two individuals are equal in the eyes of law, i.e., they’ll be treated equally in terms of political representation, rights and opportunities, social well-being, etc. Equality implies that there’ll be no amount of discrimination on any basis (here gender). All individuals irrespective of any categorisation and/or any gender(s) have equal value in society and should be attributed with equal rights and treatment. Since, years of societal pressures and suppression has resulted in groups of individuals losing out on access as well as resources due social/political/economic/gender/class/race based discrimination, they would be given a headstart so as to put in place a fair and level playing field.
Egalitarianism is a school of thought which is built on the concept that all human beings
are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities. Hence, it means taking into account social equality as a whole.
An ally is someone who isn’t a part of a specific community (like LGBTQ+), but still supports them. An ally might not be an activist, but still stand for against any kind of discriminatory behaviour – transphobia, homophobia, biphobia, etc.
Having different expectations about “how to behave” and “how men and women are perceived and treated” for similar behaviours. For instance, an assertive man is called strong, while an assertive woman is called bitchy/pushy. A man is celebrated for being a workaholic while an ambitious woman is selfish. Such act stems from the inherent belief that men (or members of the male sex) are superior by the virtue of their reproductive anatomy. The basic curriculum of sexism entails – domination and oppression of women and is manifested through many social and political structures (including patriarchy). This belief is not always explicit but is embedded through socialization and its glimpses can be seen in both conspicuous and inconspicuous ways. Sexism is reinforced by beliefs, customs, values and attitudes, and is further perpetuated through language, family, media, stereotypes, religious beliefs, education, etc. It’s crucial to note that women experience sexism differently depending on their social position, race or ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, age, ability, religion and other attributes; making sexism arduous to eradicate.
Hostile means reflecting dislike towards someone and sexism means prejudice, discrimination and stereotyping on the basis of sex, typically women. Hence, hostile sexism reflects what most people think out loud like – insulting, degrading, objectifying openly. Eg: Sexual violence, domestic abuse, rape.
Benevolent is the quality of being “well meaning” and sexism means prejudice, discrimination and stereotyping on the basis of sex, predominantly women. Benevolent sexism reflects seemingly positive compliments which are ingrained in prejudice that may seem less obvious and/or seems like a compliment.Hence, it is a set of interrelated attitudes towards women that are sexist in terms of viewing women stereotypically and in restrictive roles but that they are subjectively positive in feeling tone. Benevolent sexism hurts men as well – when men are distanced and penalised for expressing their emotions; they are told that they are bad at household tasks and call them “feminine” for their inclination towards cooking, dancing, applying makeup, etc.
Some examples are –
(a.) You aren’t like other girls
(b.) The romanticising of women as objects (cheez, maal, complimenting only on physical attributes),
(c.) The belief that men have a duty to protect women because they are inherently weak (like flowers).
Internalising is making a set of attitudes and behaviour part of one’s nature by learning or by unconsciously absorbing through families, religious beliefs, education, socio-economic structures and media. Internalised sexism is when the beliefs such as – women are inferior, women are weak, etc. becomes a part of one’s own worldview; in thoughts, words and deeds.
Patriarchy literally translates to “rule of the father” and historically, it refers to the systemic and institutionalized male domination which has been embedded in and perpetuated by cultural, political, economic and social structures and ideologies. It has varied forms in accordance to its history and in different cultures, and thereby has different meanings attached to it. The system of patriarchy runs on the fuel of power through these systemic structures, and explicitly considers women inferior and subordinate, further conferring the baton of control and decision making on males. Hence, it makes the value of masculinity an ideal norm.
Kamla Bhasin says, “Patriarchy is a social system in which by definition men are considered to be superior, and in which men have more control over resources, decision making, and ideology. Hence, we are against patriarchy.”
What would be the result of feeding a psychology that is infused with sexist ideas, beliefs and action? The manifestation of such an act would the inherent hatred of women, which then is expressed socially, culturally, politically in the form of discrimination, denigration and humiliation of women. It further perpetrates violence against women and their (sexual) objectification.
Misogyny directed towards black women.
Ingrained feeling of prejudice and hatred towards men and boys.
Andro comes from the Greek prefix meaning male/men. Hence, androcentrism is the (un)conscious practice of looking at the world from a masculine point of view, making male/men the (best) prototype humans. Further, making masculinity the default perspective of reality and behaviour. Androcentrism is a characteristic of sexism acted throughout history, culture, politics, etc. and femininity is marginalised, and the lives of women are categorised as “other”.
According to the United Nations, sexual harassment is any kind of unwelcoming behaviour and/or advances, requests, sexual favours, verbal and/or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Such advances are made with the purpose of affecting and interfering with someone’s work, daily life, and environment. Sexual harassment includes, but are not limited to –
– Actual or attempted rape or sexual assault.
– Unwanted pressure for sexual favors.
– Unwanted deliberate touching, leaning over, cornering, or pinching.
– Unwanted sexual looks or gestures.
– Unwanted letters, telephone calls, pictures or materials of a sexual nature.
– Whistling at someone, cat calls
– Making sexual comments about a person’s body
– Making sexual comments or innuendos
– Turning work discussions to sexual topics
Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual behaviour which isn’t only verbal, rather in physical. It is any kind of behaviour that not just makes someone uncomfortable but also threatened or scared. Some of the examples are –
- Rape: forced, unwanted sex or sexual acts.
- Child sexual abuse: using power over a child to involve that child in sexual activity.
Indecent assault: indecent behaviour before, during or after an assault.
Rape is when a person intentionally penetrates, i.e., gets involved with someone sexually without the other person’s consent.
Rape culture is a sociological concept in which rape is defined as a stereotypical behaviour and perpetrates false beliefs that justify sexual aggression and trivialize the seriousness of sexual violence. Rape is pervasive and normalized due to societal attitudes about gender and sexuality.
The term gaslighting originated from the play ‘Gaslight’ (1938) where the protagonist’s husband manipulates her into believing that she’s going mad. The name comes from the part of the play where the husband uses gas lights and causes them to dim on his own. Hence, gaslighting is psychological manipulation where a person slowly seeps in doubts in the mind of an individual which further makes them question their own mind, reason, perception, decision, judgement. Gaslighting shadows one’s own cognitive abilities, capabilities and oneself as a whole.
The term originated through the work of Diane Russell, a feminist writer to illustrate the systematic killing of women and girls because of their gender. Femicide is a crime in which the motive for killing is directly related to the victim’s gender. Some examples of femicide includes – female infanticide and gender based sex selection foeticide, gender mutilation related deaths, intimate partner violence, honour killing, dowry related killing/burning, targeted rape and killing of girls and women in armed conflicts; killing of aborginal and indigenous girls and women, human trafficking, rape, etc.
Racism is rooted in the idea that one’s race or skin colour determines someone’s capacity, intellect, behaviour, and other human traits. The prejudice and discrimination is on the basis of differences in (skin) colour and is deeply rooted in our socio-political institutions; it further reflects in the inherent inferiority and superiority dichotomy. Racism and/or racial discrimination can both be overt and covert in nature.
An example for the former can be in the form of legal rights, policies, etc.
When a victim of a crime is held responsible for the act, it’s known as victim blaming.
A common example for the same is – asking women about the time when they were in public, what they were wearing, who they were with and trying to correlate these factors with the act of crime/violence perpetrated on them. When we come across questioning a victim on what they could have done to prevent a crime, it becomes even more difficult for people to step up and report abuse. Hence, no one should be held guilty for the violence committed on them.
Consent is when both the people agree to get involved with each other physically and sexually. It’s when what happens between two individuals is by choice and both of them have the freedom and ability to make that choice. Consent can be changed mid-way as well. Basically “Ask the question and hear the answer” (Refer to the video).
Bodily autonomy is the right to self-governance over one’s own body without external influence and/or coercion. It is generally considered to be a fundamental human right. Here, bodily autonomy relates to the concept of affirmative consent, which requires full and eager participation in any sexual activity.
A paradigm shift in the way we look at consent and rape, i.e., moving beyond “no means no” towards the idea that consent must be explicit.
A way of looking at the world through a (toxic) masculine lens that views women as sexual objects.
Objectification is when women are reduced to just their physicality, i.e., body parts for the purpose of “male gaze”. Objectification further paints the way we treat, interact, portray in families, public space, culture, media, and all other realms of life; it dehumanises and also perpetuates violence.
Mansplaining is when a man explains something to a woman in a condescending way in terms of –
(i.) When he explains something with the intent that he needs to explain it for her to understand.
(ii.) When he knows less or doesn’t know than her about the topic discussed
(Refer to the video)
 A Sketch for the Women by Saturday Night Live (SNL). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42_fVUFsN8M&feature=emb_logo
When a man interrupts a woman, especially excessively. Some examples for the same are: In the USA, when Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell interrupted Elizabeth Warren’s recitation of Coretta Scott King’s 1986 letter against Jeff Sessions, but allowed Bernie Sanders to read it the very next day.
Privilege is an advantage to a special right, position, place, immunity given to a particular individual and/or group. Privilege is interlinked with power and the privileged ones wield the power of decision making. For example: men and boys being favoured more than women and LGBTQI+
Wage gap is the difference between what women and men earn for the same work. As of 2019, women in India earn 19% less than men for the same work, reflecting the high gender pay gap in the country (Monster Salary Index Survey).
Something that forces you to relive a trauma.
It is a statement/warning that someone is about to experience challenging material that could potentially be disturbing in graphic, sexually explicit, etc.
The attitude that views sexual pleasure as a healthy and consensual expression without judgement and shame.
Biological sex refers to the anatomical and physiological characteristics with which a person is born. It’s the sex assigned to us at birth based on medical factors such as genitals, chromosomes and hormones; predominantly people are assigned female or male.
The perception of one’s own gender is known as gender identity. It may or may not correspond with a person’s sex assigned at birth. Here, a person’s gender expression might reflect a person’s gender identity.
Sexuality is not a closed box, rather a spectrum of diverse and personal feelings and emotions; it is about how you feel, think, express and who you are attracted to. Biologically, it encompasses sexual contact and/or intercourse and you can find people attractive – physically, sexually, emotionally, and all those things cumulatively form your sexuality. Usually our behaviour, opinion and preference is determined by socio-cultural, political and legal systems set in place, but sexuality is the most basic and essential part of all our lives. Sometimes it takes time to figure out one’s sexuality, and it can also change over time.
Examples of different types of sexuality – homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, pansexual, asexual.
Sexual orientation refers to an individual’s preference for a romantic and/or sexual attraction and partner. A man can be attracted to another man or another woman ; similarly, a woman can be attracted to another woman or another man. Hence, sexual orientation depends on whether an individual is homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual.
Heterosexuality is the romantic and sexual attraction and behaviour towards members of the opposite sex or gender.
Homosexuality is the romantic and sexual attraction and behaviour towards members of the same sex or gender.
By the 1980s in America, the initialism LGBT came into prominence and came together to be associated as a community. The first four letters in the abbreviation stands for – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. It was only in 2016, when GLAAD Media Reference Guide stated that LGBTQ is a more inclusive initialism; and here, ‘Q’ stands for Queer.
The abbreviation stands for – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, allies and Pansexual. The term tries to be inclusive of all sexual identities.
It’s indeed a happy adjective! The term is used to describe men who are physically, emotionally, sexually attracted to other men.
A noun and adjective used to describe women who are physically, emotionally, sexually attracted to other women.
A term used to describe someone who is attracted to more than one gender.
The term transgender is used to describe people whose gender identity doesn’t match to the biological sex that they were assigned at birth, and hence, may identify as either male or female.
Q for Queer; Q for Questioning; Queer is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities who aren’t heterosexuals and cisgender. The ones who are still exploring their sexuality and are rejecting restrictive labels.
Andro means male/men and -gynous means having female organs. Hence, androgynous is the combination of masculine and feminine characteristics. It may be expressed with regard to biological sex, gender identity, sexual identity and/or gender expression. When androgyny is in regard to biological sex, it usually refers to intersex.
Intersex refers to the estimated 1.7% of the population born with bodily traits that don’t seem to fit the conventional dichotomy of female or male. Their sexual characteristics are- genitals, chromosomes, gonads seem to be different from social expectations. Intersex in itself is also an umbrella term because there is no ‘one’ kind of intersex. It’s
used for a variety of conditions for people born with a reproduction or sexual anatomy that don’t fit in the dichotomy. “For example, a person might be born appearing to be female on the outside, but having mostly male-typical anatomy on the inside. Or a person may be born with genitals that seem to be in-between the usual male and female types—for example, a girl may be born with a noticeably large clitoris, or lacking a vaginal opening, or a boy may be born with a notably small penis, or with a scrotum that is divided so that it has formed more like labia. Or a person may be born with mosaic genetics, so that some of her cells have XX chromosomes and some of them have XY. Intersex anatomy doesn’t always show up at birth, sometimes a person isn’t found to have intersex anatomy until they reaches the age of puberty, or find themselves to be an infertile adult, or dies of old age and is autopsied. Some people live and die with intersex anatomy without anyone (including themselves) ever knowing.” (Intersex Society of North America).
The term cisgender is used for people whose gender identity matches their biological sex assigned at birth.
Asexuality is when there is a lack of sexual attraction towards any gender. There is low and/or absent interest/desire for sexual activity.
The term transsexual was used to indicate a difference between their biological sex assigned at birth (male, female, intersex) and one’s gender identity (their internal experience and expression of gender). There are sex-reassignment surgeries and hormone treatments in place for the ones who sought to change their physical body to match their (internal) gender identity and expression. Sexual orientation is a different window all together, hence transsexuals’ sexual orientation can be – heterosexual, homosexual, or
Imagine someone liking all the colours; that’s what pansexual is. It means attraction towards all genders.
When Bi – means two, then gender binary is the categorisation of gender into two distinct and opposite forms, i.e., masculine and feminine; male and female.
Non-binary refers to the gender identities that are not exclusively straighjacketed in the categories of masculine and feminine. Non-binary also known as Gender-queer is a spectrum of identities that fall under the umbrella of transgender. Hence, non-binary people identify with a gender that is not in tandem with their assigned biological sex.
Gender lies on a spectrum and hence gender identity can be anything other than the conventional gender archetypes of either male or female. Further the expressions are not restricted to being either (utterly) masculine or feminine. Gender fluidity is an identity that can change over time or in accordance to one’s relational or psychological state; it can also be a feeling of not having a specific gender.
- Romantic orientation reflects the sex and/or gender with which any person is most likely to be interested in having a romantic, sexual relation with. There happens to be varied romantic orientations –
(i.) Heteroromantic: When someone is (romantically) attracted to someone of a different gender.
(ii.) Homoromantic: When someone is (romantically) attracted to someone of the same gender.
(iii.) Polyromantic: When someone is (romantically) attracted to people of many, but not all genders.
(iv.) Demiromantic: When someone experiences (romantic) attraction not so frequently, and when they do it’s when they’ve developed a strong emotional connection with someone.
(v.) Greyromantic: When someone experiences (romantic) attraction infrequently.
(vi.) Biromantic: When someone is (romantically) attracted to people of two or more genders.
(vii.) Panromantic: When someone is (romantically) attracted to people of all genders
(viii.) Aromantic: When one experiences little or no (romantic) attraction to anybody, irrespective of the gender.
Allies are people or group of people who support another group of people who are (predominantly) subject to discrimination, violence, injustice, prejudice, etc.,
For instance, feminist allies are individuals who aren’t women but support the rights of women; LGBTQIA+ rights allies, Dalit/Adivas allies – are individuals who aren’t in these group of people but still stand beside them in their struggle.
In the mid-1960s, an American psychotherapist, George Weinberg coined the term ‘homophobia’ to describe the discomfort some of his colleagues exhibited around gay men and lesbians. He indicated that the ‘problem’ of homosexuality lies with heterosexuals who are fearful, intolerant and spew hate to any behaviour that seems to fall outside their ‘traditional’ box of gender identy/expression and roles.
Homophobia is also referred to as – Hetrosexism, i.e., the idea that romantic and/or sexual feelings and relationships can only be between a man and a woman (heterosexuals). All other feelings and relationships that are outside the aforementioned dichotomy are outside the norm and thereby is unnatural and unacceptable.
Transphobia can be acted upon in different ways, some of them include – derogatory language and name calling, bullying, abuse and violence. Transphobia creates both conspicuous and inconspicuous forms of discrimination. For instance, transgender persons can be denied healthcare, housing, jobs, etc.
Transphobia is the feeling of contempt/hatred and manifestation of discriminationtowards transgender people. While misogyny is the hatred towards women and belittling of feminine characteristics and expressions. Hence, transmisogyny is a confluence of both, i.e., the hatred expressed through the structures of culture, state, society, etc. Transmisogny is directed towards transgender and gender non-conforming people who express the feminine end of the spectrum. It’s important to remember that transmisogyny is not just towards trans-women, rather also towards transgender and trans-sexual women who were assigned male at birth. Hence, transmisogyny is based on the premise that femininity is inferior and hence, it is the hatred of the feminine.
An acronym which stands for “trans exclusionary radical feminists,” referring to feminists who are transphobic.
An acronym which stands for “sex worker exclusionary radical feminists,” referring to feminists who say prostitution oppresses women.
Allosexism is a term to describe prejudice, hatred, or hostility towards asexual people. It is expressed verbally, physically, in acts of violence and excluding them from society, especially representation.
A person who is not open about their gender identity and/or sexual orientation.
Coming out is a voluntary act of making one’s gender identity and/or sexual orientation known to one’s family, friends, and/or to the public.
Cross-dresser is a person who partially or fully dresses as a member of a particular gender which isn’t aligned to their assigned sex. It is an act of gender expression and not an individual’s gender identity and/or sexual orientation.
Drag culture is to dress up differently than one’s gender, usually for the purpose of performance and expression. Drag performers can have any gender identity and/or sexual orientation. It is also distinct from a trans person.
A drag king, usually a woman, dresses up as a man to perform. Outside of their performance, the drag kings usually live their daily lives as a woman (can have any gender identity and/or sexual orientation; also distinct from a trans person).
A drag queen, usually a man, dresses up as a woman to perform. Outside of their performance, the drag queens usually live their daily lives as a man (can have any gender identity and/or sexual orientation; also distinct from a trans person).
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), “around 15% of the global population lives in some form of disability or other. Women are more likely to experience disability than men and older people are more than young. Low and middle income countries have higher rates of disability than high income countries.” Broadly, disability is the lack of experiencing physical/mental conditions which further limits someone to perform the basic activities in our daily lives like that of – hearing, walking, seeing, thinking, etc.
But disability encapsulates physical, medical, mental, socio-political contexts, etc., and is therefore defined within specific contexts and also depends on the historical, socio-economic and cultural issues. Eg., for migrants, indigenous people, people in poor areas, stateless/internally displaced people, refugees, etc the issues are of access and lack of health care. Hence, here the disability is regarding accessing basic and important services.
Ableism is the pervasive system of discrimination, social prejudice, stereotyping and exclusion towards people with disabilities of any kind. The deeply rooted beliefs on issues such as – health (physical/mental), beauty, value of human life, etc come together to create an environment that is not only hostile but also perpetrates hate and discrimination. Hence, anyone who falls outside the “normal” and “socially acceptable” is weak, inferior and pitiful. Hence, ableism is rooted in the assumption that a certain disability of a person defines them and it is something that needs to be ‘fixed’.
Misgendering is to address someone (especially a transgender person) by using a word, pronoun that doesn’t reflect with the gender to which they identity themselves with. It’s always better to ask the person what pronoun(s) they use to address themselves.
Just like social exclusion and marginalisation is a form of discrimination based on their belonging to a certain social class/group. In India, it extends to the categories of caste, class, religion, disability, gender, socio-economic disadvantages, etc.
Similarly, sexual exclusion means that a group is marginalised and discriminated against on the basis of their sexuality (orientation/behaviour) which includes – the LGBTQ community, intersex persons.
LANGUAGE, KNOWLEDGE & POWER
Culture is an umbrella term which encompasses social behavior and norms which can be usually found in human societies through the discourses of knowledge, belief, customs, law, art, habits of individuals in group(s). It refers to an ever evolving social environment which is used to communicate and consume values such as – language, food, rituals, clothing, etc, which deem to be strengthening qualities of solidarity. Culture is also influenced by socio-economic, political and other structural dynamics. For instance, standards of beauty changes constantly;
Discourse is a little more than messages being sent and received. As Michel Foucault, a French philosopher concerned with the origins and dissemination of “knowledge,” developed the idea that knowledge is produced, i.e., that what we know about and see in the world is not simply the “natural order” of things, but is shaped by the dynamics of power and dominant ideologies that are at play in any given society.
Politics refers to governments, states and organisations of the world; it is the process of conversing and negotiating with differences like – different interests, opinions, needs and priorities both between and among individuals and groups. Politics has its roots in power- voices, interests and decision making. Politics is usually associated with formal bodies of decision making such as – legislature, national assemblies, etc., but it’s also omnipresent in all the social relationships beginning from our household.
Political refers to the relationship of power that exists between and within all organisations, institutions and people. When “politics” usually refers to governments, states and organizations of the world; political talks about the dynamics and conversations within these structures. In feminist literature, “the personal is political” reflects the belief that families and relationships have an operating politics and power dynamics in place. Politics is also the process of resisting and challenging all forms of oppression, injustice and domination while conversing with varied interests, opinions, requirements, etc. between and among individuals and groups so that everyone is able to co-exist and work together for change.
Diversity is a political principle for the inclusion of different kinds of people in a group. The crucial physical and social differences among people are shaped by ethnicity, class, caste, gender, sexuality, race, etc. Diversity refers to the natural yet complex and enriching variations of the social environment; where each one is unique even within a similar group, and have shared experiences. Though diversity is natural and a fact, and also an important element, it has been a source for numerous conflicts due to the dichotomy of power and privilege/domination.
The degree of control over material, human, economic, social resources exercised by individuals or groups of individuals. The control over the resources further becomes the source of social power. Though power is distributed unequally, it is also varied and changing. It is through a continuous process of challenge and resistance from less powerful sections of society, which affects the changes in the structure of power.
Resource or state/position of being in a society that is available to some people and are apparently considered to have an upper hand and/or dominant due to the social status they are born with such as – white, male, heterosexuality, wealthy, etc.
Hegemony is the process through which the world view of the dominant group is accepted as the natural order of the state/society. Cultural hegemony means how a dominant group generates ideas and tries to dominate the consensus of those ideas so as to maintain and dominate their legitimacy. Hegemony is expressed through language, culture, patriarchy, political, economic systems, etc. and it is structured to maintain the status quo in the interest of those in power.
Social phenomenon based on the unjust exercise of authority or power in the form of impositions or restraints through social, economic, cultural, religious and political structures.
Ethnicity is a social group of people based on shared language, history, culture, religion and/or background. Ethnicity has the sphere of race blended in it. For instance, the East Asian ethnicity includes – China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, and South Korea.
Race refers to the physical characteristics of people which are used as a social construct that goes beyond biology or genetics. The categorisation of race exists in relation with a dominant group with a part of physical difference as it’s foundation like skin colour. Racial categories are used to establish and celebrate group identity, solidarity, and even diversity. But it’s also used to further the cause discrimination and injustice with the tool of “othering”. For instance, whiteness/western-ness is put in contrast to stereotypically discriminate blacks and/or the third world. Hence, the categories of race are created by the socially dominant group to wield and reinforce their power and supremacy to allow, perpetuate and justify the discriminatory differential treatment for the group(s) of people who don’t fit into their category.
Othering is the process of reductive labelling and defining a person or group of people to a subservient narrative. Othering results in social exclusion where a dominant class claims the normative status, and everyone outside it is defined in terms of the dominant group. In ‘othering’ the subservient person/group is deemed as an object, and further allows and justifies the act of subordination (and violence) by the dominant actors.
Intersectionality refers to the multiple forms of discrimination that overlap and converse with one another. The varied forms of discrimination are based on – gender, sexuality, race, class, caste, religion, disability, socio-economic factors, etc. An individual’s intersecting experience of discrimination is unique and hence shapes the impact of marginalisation and oppression.
Agency is defined as the capacity to take action and the manifestation of the capacity by wielding the power associated with it. There are some factors which cumulatively influence the structure of agency – class, caste, society, religion, gender, race, ethnicity, customs, ability, merit, etc.
Michel Foucault says, “Power is constituted through accepted forms of knowledge, scientific understanding and truth.”
Epistemology is the study of nature, origin, and what constitutes knowledge and who produces it; feminist epistemology is the study of how gender influences the production of knowlege. The premise of feminist epistemology is the that knowlege is produced and the overlapping of socio-economic, cultural, political factors that further influence the production of knowledge.
Post colonialism analyses the relationships and power dynamics between the (former) colonies and their (former) colonisers. Post-colonial feminist analyse inequality in private, public as well as the intimate spheres, especially in the realm of colonial domination and oppression; and reject the narrow and western category of rationality and logic. It’s important to note that the ideological tools of colonialism are – slavery, racism, sexims, religious intolerance, control over women’s capacity, education, and reproductive rights.
Postmodernism can be explained in the words of Dr. J. Nozipo Maraire, “Until the lion learns how to write, every story will glorify the hunter.”
Postmodernism argues that there is no absolute truth, and that reality is both relative and subjective, dependent on perspectives, and usually favours the dominant narrative. It further reiterates the role of language and power which enables to shape the discourse of ideas, beliefs, customs, traditions, etc.; further silencing the categories that try to challenge their power and dominance. For instance, straight versus gay, imperial versus colonial, male versus female, white versus black, national versus anti-national, etc. Hence, postmodernism challenges the way of thinking that follows – you are either with us or against us.
Ideology is a system of ideas, beliefs which are disseminated through social, economic, religious institutions and structures of family, education, legal system, media, etc. to form the basis of (political) theory and policies. Ideologies are attributed to a person or group of people.
A worldview which provides the foundation for customs, explanations, perceptions, institutions and behaviour. It’s a pattern of thought that gives people the way of understanding and valuing their world.
A citizen is an inhabitant of a particular country; citizenship is the right to legally exercise one’s rights and responsibilities such as the right to vote. The narrow (yet prevalent) understanding of citizenship is where a government decides who deserves to get the rights of being called a ‘citizen’. For instance, in Magna Carter of Europe, women and blacks didn’t have the right to vote; immigrants being treated as outsiders, etc.
Empowerment works for the marginalised so as to provide a level playing field for everyone to co-exist. Hence, empowerment begins with individual(s) who recognise that there are systemic forces of inequality that are constantly in action which further influences the lives of the marginalised and act with other institutions of power to constantly exist, maintain and exhibit the relationships of power. Thereby, the process of empowerment involves a wide range of activities like that of self assertion, collective mobilisation as well as resistance which aims at questioning and challenging the systemic institutions that are ingrained in and act upon the dynamics of power.
Transgression means the act of going against the rule of law, code of conduct. Then, feminist transgression means individual and/or collective forms of resistance, political struggle to challenge the restrictive, regressive, patriarchal norms and customs imposed on women. For instance, marches, rallies, protests, etc. and critical cooperation like advocacy, lobbying, etc.
Movement(s) is a collective act towards change/development; feminist movements are a step towards moving towards change with varied goals such as – political, economic and social goals seeking to transform both gender and social power relations; towards participation and leadership of women members at every stage of the process, etc.
People often make assumptions about another person’s gender based on their outward appearance. The assumptions are applied to forms and pronouns used to address them. It was established by transgender people to establish what they would be liked to called. Gender specific pronouns are used to indicate a person’s gender identity and what they want others to refer them as. They are not indicative of a person’s sexual orientation.
It is a set of gender-specific pronoun which is usually used to refer to women and/or girls.
It is a set of gender-specific pronoun which is usually used to refer to men and/or boys.
Gender-neutral pronouns are words that we use to refer to someone that don’t specify whether the subject is female or male. For instance, ‘they’ is a third-person pronoun that is gender-neutral. Other gender-neutral pronouns include – ‘them’ ‘Ze’, ‘Hir’, etc.
If one isn’t sure which pronoun to use because they aren’t prevalent yet due to lack of awareness, we can also use the person’s name.
It is a set of gender-neutral pronoun which some people and/or organisations use.
For instance, instead of saying, “He/She wants to drink water”, we would say, “Ne wants to drink water. Also, “This notebook is his/hers”, we would say, “This notebook is nirs”.
Though these set of pronouns are used to refer to a group of people. But it is also used as a set of gender-neutral pronouns to refer to a single person.
It is a set of gender-neutral pronoun which some people and/or organisations use. For instance, instead of saying, “He/She is going”, we would say, “Ve is going”. Also, “This notebook is his/hers”, we would say, “This notebook is virs”.
It is a set of gender-neutral pronoun which some people and/or organisations use. For instance, instead of saying, “He/She is going”, we would say, “Xe is going”. Also, “This notebook is his/hers”, we would say, “This notebook is xirs”.
It is a set of gender-neutral pronoun which some people and/or organisations use. For instance, instead of saying, “He/She is thirsty”, we would say, “Zie is thirsty”. Also, “This notebook is his/hers”, we would say, “This notebook is hirs”.
Organising/Organisation is the action to bring people of various arenas together to develop capacity building for challenging a common issue in hand. Usually, organising is used by people who are disadvantaged by the systemic inequalities, excluded from policies, decision making, etc. Organising is based on the resilience towards fulfilling a common goal with strong roots of mutual goal and respect, trust.
The process during which individuals, groups, organisations are actively involved in an informed process which enables to expand knowledge, consciousness, navigate through power and further come up with active solutions which in turn influences decision making and (desirably) has a positive impact.
Activist is someone who cares about injustice, inequality and well being of others, and further organises collective action.
Advocacy is an organised effort by people and/or organisations to put into effect changes in both politics and in the social environment. Feminist advocacy refers to using the same strategis, skills and tools so as to influence and eliminate the inequalities of gender disparity; and challenge all forms of oppression and exclusion. There are many definitions for advocacy including – policy advocacy, social justice advocacy, citizen-centered and participatory advocacy.
Mobilisation is to organise and/or prepare towards a particular event/cause by a group of people to make demands, influence the ones in power, and fulfil a particular (usually political) objective.
The refusal to comply with something unjust. Hence, it is an act of challenging the power structure. For instance, calling out sexism, discrimination at any place, challenging rigid gender roles in society, family, etc. Resistance can be in varied forms – subtle, dynamic, revolutionary, silent protests, demonstrations, strikes, boycotts. Resistance is seen as a revolutionary and radical act because it always converses with an established channel of power structure.
When people are able to see similar life experiences, struggles, in the lives of others. Resonance is based on compassion, empathy and solidarity and also serves as the basis of transformatory politics. People can analyse discrimination through shared experiences.
Critical consciousness is an ever evolving process of questioning the world and the operations of power. It is a process to understand the correlation between personal and political. There is an understanding of self with furthering the understanding of power, privilege and oppression. For women, awakening their sense of critical consciousness is about overcoming self-doubt nurtured by sexism, subjugation and injustice, and understanding of power dynamics through shared experiences.
Society is a community of people who live in a particular country/region; they interact and share (different) space, customs, laws, etc.
Civil society is a space of social interaction between communities like – family, state, etc., where there is community cooperation, (voluntary) association and communication with one another. Civil society includes – NGOs, non-profit organisations, groups at the grassroot level, which represent the interest of people and provide services. For instance, labour unions, women rights organisations, human rights organisations. Strong civil societies enable the values of bringing people together for working together.
A group of people who are closely related to one another by common ancestry, blood and/or marriage. For instance, a set of parents and their children is known as immediate family. A group of people who are related by blood, marriage, custom/law is known as an extended family. While a group of close knitted people who are related because they work together as an organisational unit. LGBTQI+ parenting refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex people raising children. It encapsulates children raised by – same sex couples, children raised by single LGBTQI+ parents, and children raised by opposite sex couples where at least one of the partner is LGBTQI+
Development is a process that is multi faceted and involves changes and restructuring in the various structures of the society. The changes in social, political and economic structures and institutions for the welfare of socio-economic growth, reduction and eradication of inequality, poverty and (all forms of) violence is the key step towards development.
Well-being is a state of being healthy physically, mentally, emotionally and a peaceful, egalitarian and violence free environment stands out to be conducive to one’s well being.
Well-being is also a political issue because it takes into account stability and issues of the marginalised; it should also be seen as a key factor of development.
The caste system is India’s oldest social stratification system, i.e., more than 3,000 years old; it was born out of an authoritative book Manusmriti. The system divides Hindus into rigid hierarchical groups based on their work (karma) and duty (dharma). The caste system divides Hindus into – Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras. The Brahmins took the jobs of intellectuals/teachers, the Kshatriyas were warriors, soldiers, rulers. The Vaishyas were traders, and the Shudras were assigned to do all the menial jobs. These castes are segregated into upper castes (Brahmins, Kshatriyas & Vaishyas) and lower castes (Shudras). The system has bestowed upon many privileges and respect to the upper castes and has sanctioned repression, exclusion to the lower castes by them. (See Untouchability)
If you keep separate utensils for your househelp, waste/garbage/rag pickers; if you don’t touch them, and if you do, quickly wash yourself; you don’t eat at their home, function, etc.; if you make them sit on the ground; if you give them stale food; all of these are instances of how untouchability manifests in reality.
In the literal sense it means the practice of ostracising a minority group by segregating them from the mainstream (society, customs, legally). The term is most commonly associated with Dalit communities in India, who are considered “polluting” and till date are not allowed enter temples, use the same community services like – wells, benches, temples, etc., and it’s challenging for them to receive education with the so- called “upper castes”.
The field isn’t level playing, hence there has to be provisions in place which gives a head start to particular individuals so that they can be at a level playing platform.
Therefore, reservation is an arrangement whereby something like a seat, room, place is reserved for a particular community, who often fall under the category of minority/marginalised.
THE STATE & THE ECONOMY
A state consists of people, institutions (like that of governments), law and customs, etc., all bound by territorial borders and geographical boundaries. A state provides access to people for accessing opportunities, decision making, etc., regulated by laws and policies. These laws are implemented by the governmental organisations put in place and rolled out into action with the help of schools, police, courts, and other governmental and non-governmental institutions. Different states act differently and in accordance to the society they reside in further making laws and taking actions in accordance to the environment they live in.
From a traditional lens security entails only the security of threats from outside attacks by groups and/or governments with the use of military means for both attack and defence. While security from a larger inclusive viewpoint deals with dangers that people encounter in their daily lives from – conflict, violence (inside & outside homes), human rights violations, environment degradation, and the lack of fulfillment in delivering basic human needs, etc.
Rights in law have established a social norm important for each individual to live with dignity. Rights grant a certain degree of power recognised as a tool for protection, reason and progress; and the state and/or government bodies have the responsibility to both deliver and maintain it. They are accountable if there is an inability in delivering and maintaining the rights of people. Eg: the right to vote, right to live, right to equality, right to freedom, right against exploitation, right to freedom of religion, cultural and educational rights, right to property, etc.
Governance is the capability and capacity of governing and has predominantly been associated with development. Further it refers to the (forging of) relationships between people, states, institutions where there is flow of information and decision making and accountability. Governance can be between two units, i.e., citizens and their government, between countries and national/international organisations (NGOs/WTO/UN), etc. Even though governance is conceptualised and experienced differently and in accordance with their power and position in society; “good governance” has quite become the buzzword and a prerequisite for reducing the abuse of power and corruption and strengthening accountability and the voices of the people in decision making.
A belief that any country should have and maintain a strong military capacity and capability so that they can use it aggressively to promote and/or defend their national interests. The use of military and violence on the lives and (political, economic environment. Colonialism and its violent oppression, authoritarian dictators, which can also lead to arms proliferation; war(s) on terror, state organised femicide, violent and oppressive treatment on individuals in the garb of “national security” all are examples of militarism.
Fundamentalism is the strict belief in the original form of religion/ideology or theory without accepting new ideas and changes with time. Fundamentalism is acted out to impose a specific ideology through the spheres of society, politics, economic arrangements and varied structures of society. Though fundamentalism is interlinked with religion, it should not be conflated with it. For instance, there is economic fundamentalism – market fundamentalism which rejects state intervention in economic activities completely; political fundamentalism which encapsulates the extreme stances like that of militarism. common features including intolerance for all other points of view and suppression of dissent.
Discourses of fundamentalism look at women as just reproducers and their identity is confined as symbols of a community which has to further be controlled in the form of having a sense of power over women’s bodies and autonomy; deepening the gender specific roles. Fundamentalism also denies the rights of LGBTQI+ persons and communities as they strictly believe heterosexuality and the male and female dichotomy to be the only one that is true and in accordance with nature. Hence, fundamentalism doesn’t give any space to dissent, freedom to question, choose and autonomy over self. All of it results in ingraining the roots patriarchy, intolerance, hatred and dismissal of pluralism.
Social and political changes which often seek to ensure equality of opportunity without consideration of the huge power equations in play that further the cause of discrimination at the grassroot level in society, which put some people in a better position than others to access the opportunity. Gender equity takes into account the differences between people and the uneven playing field, which focuses on the impact of any action. Eg: equal distribution of resources based on the needs of different groups of people.
Democracy is a system where the power is exercised by the people. Democracy doesn’t only pertain to decision making, but also to make sure whether the people are free, aware, informed, and (will be) safe when they put forth their opinions. In feminist literature, the elements of democracy are – democratic participation in all places, i.e., household, knowledge creation, consumption, and production; media, participation in the public realm, sexual realm, economy, politics, socio-religious and cultural, etc.
An economic system in which the products that are produced and distributed are only with the goal of profit making by using privately owned capital goods and wage labour. Feminists’ critique of capitalism is important to understand the nature of inequality as a whole because it reflects an ideology of accumulation of (individual) wealth with little or no regard for society and exploitation.
The practice of purchasing goods and services one needs to sustain their life and well-being. The neo-liberal free market economy relies on consumerism so as to drive the growth of the economy. While the policies both public and economic promote consumption such as – allowing the elimination of costly labour standards, hence making products cheaper.
Free trade refers to the trade agreements between states and/or two actors to build (stronger) relationships. Free trade is based on the principles of removing the barriers of trade like that of – tariffs on import, labour standards, etc. Free trade is curated with the goal and (pre)assumption that the global flow will make goods and services more efficient. For instance, if food is produced in the cheapest place, it’ll be affordable for each one involved in terms of production and consumption. Though sustainability, employment generation, social equity are not the prime focal points of this model.
Globalisation is the process of increasing the speed and escalating the comfort at which people, culture, ideologies, commerce, media, etc. travel across the geographical and political boundaries; with the help of technologies. States, corporations in a globalised system work towards trade, policies, economic/political restructuring, etc. with its roots in neo-liberal and free trade principles, with the help of these technologies to ease and expand their reach and influence. The critics of globalisation look at it as a model which focuses on development while disrupting the natural, societal and ecological resources and system(s) with the end goal of profit making.
Informal economies are the ones where goods and services are sold and bought outside the”formal” market, i.e., without state regulation and/or taxation, and are often not visible within the system of official data. They are also usually based on non-monetary exchanges. But this economy creates opportunities for people to earn, sell, care and provide when the formal sector fails to do so. The participants of the sector build and enforce their own rules to protect themselves. The sector as a whole, but especially the women labour in this sector is disproportionately represented. Some examples of the informal sector are – daily wagers, street vendors, etc. Sometimes, the informal economies can also get violent, exploitative, and be alongside illegal and/or restricted weaponry, drugs, (human) trafficking, etc.
In developing countries, like that of India, the informal sector is the fastest growing economic sector; it has faced dire situations most of the time, now even more so due to Covid-19.
An unpaid economy is usually called “social reproduction” where women do most of the work of maintaining the labour force. The care economy produces and reproduces community oriented goods and services such as healthcare, education, childcare, etc. as a part of caring for people often outside the money economy. But the care economy usually runs on (unpaid) women’s labour. Many a time, government cutbacks on social programs or inadequacies in funding even in the case of social services, essential utilities and infrastructure substantially fall as a burden on women as a part of unpaid work in the care economy.
Domestic work includes all the work in the house (your own or someone else’s) such as – cleaning, fetching water, cooking, caring for children, sick, elderly and children, etc. Hence, domestic work is based on relationships of power and is unpaid, invisible, and is largely seen as “women’s work”. Hence, one can see a clear sexual division of labour irrespective of the fact if they work outside of the house or not.
(SOCIAL) MEDIA MOVEMENTS
Tarana Burke founded the #MeToo movement to create a platform for women and girls with shared experiences of sexual harassment, assault, misconduct, violence, etc. and connect with one another to forge a solidarity. The digital campaign began with a tweet from actress Alyssa Milano, in 2017 sparked the movement of disclosures and solidarity from women who had been silent about their experiences of sexual assault. Since then, #MeToo has spread across the globe and crossed racial, economic and all other boundaries. In France, it echoed with the hashtag #BalanceTonPorc, in Italy with #QuellaVoltaChe, in Turkey with #SendeAnlat, across the Arab States with #AnaKaman, in China with #RiceBunny, in Spain with #Cuentalo, etc. The movement created an impact with companies adjusting their policies, and people all over the world having conversations a little more openly on consent and ending sexual harassment.
The critic of the movement has been the fact that since it’s a widely digital movement the conversation on the intermingling of agency, silence and power has been deepened (UN Women).
As #MeToo gained global attention, Monica Ramirez, president of the Alianza Nacional de Campesinasto, an organization that seeks to end the exploitation of women farmworkers in the United States of America, penned an open letter of solidarity to women in Hollywood who had come forward with their experiences. From the unlikely alliance, the #TimesUp movement was born, using the loudest voices in service of the most marginalized, and creating unity to break the silence around sexual harassment, end gender discrimination and fight for gender equality (UN Women).
Writer and political analyst Zerlina Maxwell created #rapecultureiswhen on March 25, 2014, in order to draw attention to the ways in which society blames victims of assault and rape. Maxwell was inspired to start the hashtag after Time published an essay titled: “It’s Time to End ‘Rape Culture’ Hysteria.” A survivor of assault herself, Maxwell candidly shared a series of tweets about her own experiences with rape culture, including being asked “what she was wearing?” after reporting her rape. From Maxwell’s story came thousands of others from women all over the world, using the hashtag as a safe space to share their truths and call out the status quo.
When women across India were outraged and fed up with victim-blaming in cases of sexual harassment and sexist comments, they wanted to channel their anger into action, so they turned to social media to organize. Through the hashtag #IWillGoOut, like-minded individuals started to connect, and soon the conversation echoed on the streets with the nationwide #IWillGoOut march that mobilized and brought together women from all walks of life to protest sexual harassment and gender inequality in India (UN Women).
Why are sanitary napkins taxed? Since 2016, the NGO SheSays started a campaign called #LahuKaLagaan which aimed at pushing India’s former Finance Minister (late) Arun Jaitley to abolish the tax on women’s sanitary products from the Goods & Services Tax (GST). The campaign gained momentum and spread ferociously on Twitter with many Bollywood celebrities also joining in and tweeting about how sanitary napkins should be made tax free. The key point being that bleeding is not a luxury and women can’t help bleeding; hence why should a natural biological process be taxed? In 2018, India finally lifted the 12% tax on the feminine hygiene products. The lifting of the tax was seen as a big move for women across India, especially since women in rural India forgo buying napkins due to its high price (SheSays).
“In 2015, Ni Una Menos meant ‘never again’ for women. With a simple, clear and common language, we said not one less (ni una menos). It was a massive demonstration that moved the social structures of the country. Today, and more so since 2015, there is a new social pact, ‘Not Without Us’, i.e., there cannot be a social pact without us.”
“Ni Una Menos (Not One Less) started with a group of journalists and writers that got fed up with the daily news about murdered women that were shown in a sweeping manner and were received with great passiveness,” according to one of the founders of the movement, Vanina Escales. While the campaign against gender-based violence, especially femicide, started in 2015 as a protest by a collective of artists, journalists and academics in Argentina, it quickly spread across Latin America and has grown into a feminist alliance. (UN Women).
In April 2014, 276 teenage girls in Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria were abducted from their school hostel by the terrorist group, Boko Haram. Parents and community members took to social media, sparking outrage around the world and creating the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. While more than 100 of the kidnapped girls have been found or released, many remain missing. Bring Back Our Girls has become a lasting movement in Nigeria, where it has expanded to include calls for action around many human rights abuses, such as other kidnappings and killings, as well as action for safety and security, healthcare and economic reform (UN Women).
Every year, from the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November to Human Rights Day on 10 December, we commemorate the 16 Days of Action of Gender-Based Violence by calling on the global community to #OrangeTheWorld. The color orange symbolizes a brighter future, free of violence. It also serves as a means of demonstrating your solidarity in eliminating all forms of violence and it is therefore used as the colour of the International Day for the Elimination of violence against women. From lighting buildings and landmarks in orange and hosting events decked in the color, we call on everyone around the world to take action to raise awareness and prevent violence against women and girls (UN Women).
In spring 2012, author Laura Bates set up a website called “The Everyday Sexism Project” to catalogue instances of sexism that women experience on a daily basis. The aim of the project was to encourage women to share their stories of sexism, no matter how minor they may seem, and expose the stark reality to the world that sexism is very much alive and widespread, and mostly so normalized within our societies that we don’t even protest most of the time. When the project became a hashtag, the conversation became global and unstoppable (UN Women).
In 2020, we’ll be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action with a new campaign,“Generation Equality: Realizing women’s rights for an equal future”. We’ll be calling on everyone, to take up the unfinished business of the Beijing Declaration and demand equality now. Show your support using #GenerationEquality on social media! (UN Women).
A series of ads, developed as a creative idea for UN Women by Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai in 2013, used genuine Google searches to reveal the widespread prevalence of sexism and discrimination against women. Based on searches dated 9 March, 2013, the ads exposed negative sentiments ranging from stereotyping as well as outright denial of women’s rights. Confirming the urgent need to continue making the case for women’s rights, empowerment and equality, the hashtag #WomenShould exploded across social media and generated worldwide discussion (UN Women).
A hashtag which is quite popular and is used as a defence of being they being and/or to reiterate that there are “good guys” while the discussion is about rape, domestic violence, sexual assault/harassment, violence, patriarchy, etc. It is quite disgraceful and unintelligent to think or say that the other half of the population, i.e., women aren’t capable of understanding that ‘not all men’ are terrible.
On 23 May 2014, a man killed six people and then himself, leaving behind a manifesto in which he stated that the reason was because he wanted to punish women for rejecting him and he envied attractive men who could accomplish things he couldn’t. In the days that followed this terrible event, social media became not only a space where people of all genders expressed their horror and solidarity with the victims and their loved ones, but also a space for serious conversations about sexual harassment, rape and misogyny.While at first the conversation was about how “#NotAllMen are like that,” it soon grew as a counter-testimony with the hashtag #YesAllWomen, highlighting how the aforementioned crime was the result of a culture of misogyny, sustained by toxic attitudes that surround all of us, subtly reinforcing the patriarchal ideas of alpha masculinity and submissive femininity (UN Women).
“#AllMenCan be masculine without misogyny, chivalrous without demeaning, and feminists without fear. Equality benefits us all.” (Benjamin Curtis).
The hashtag was created by Alice Sheppard and popularized by writer Elizabeth Plank, the #AllMenCan came out of the #YesAllWomen hashtag. With #AllMenCan, users, many of them male, were able to have a (mostly) positive and productive conversation about the ways in which men can be allies to women and the feminist movement (HuffPost).
In 2014, Actress and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson invited men to join the movement for gender equality by taking part in the #HeForShe campaign. Since the launch, men and women around the world have used #HeForShe to declare their commitment to end gender discrimination and to invite others to join the movement (UN Women).
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