In this millennium, there has been an increase in the campaign and advocacy for enforcement of women’s rights and a reorientation that women’s rights are human rights. Indeed, more women across the world are running campaigns, organising and working together or individually to advocate and ensure an improvement to the lives of women birthing a new wave in feminism.
Daily, many women groups spring up with diverse theories and beliefs; some conservative, some based on established norms and provisions of the law and some which seem to be the loudest exploring extreme options and giving a bad name to feminism.
Basically, the aims and methods are diverse and often based on individual belief, sentiments or bias, experiences and often extremities. But this doesn’t mean that feminism as a concept is bad if the right principles and objectives are followed, neither does it mean that feminism has failed and hasn’t made positive impacts. Women are penetrating communities where other women are facing challenges and lack empowerment. Advocacies have been taken to the prisons, IDP camps and under-developed communities.
Women now set up cooperative societies, women empowerment associations, professional networks; women-only organisations are being set up to push for gender parity and break the glass ceiling, getting women elected into political office; campaigns for better pay and improved maternity leave ,are being mounted; literacy schemes are being set up for women; others are exposing the male bias, fighting for right disabled women while some are vehemently demanding total legal equality with men.
While these various activities do not translate to a unified women’s movement or a basic understanding among women, it is a fact that they have led to a reawakening and more women are now conscious of their potential to also aspire for greatness and make demands for favourable policies. All these programmes and groups, all have same basic goal: which is to improve the lot of women and further their interests using different groups of women to achieve their objectives.
Though the feminist movement started in North America and Western Europe during the 1960s and early 1970s, what they had then wasn’t as intentional as what operates today. And as the feminist movement continues to rise, the impact on the lives of women also increases.
Today, feminism has become ambivalent; while it can obviously be described as a successful movement having achieved its intention of changing dominant ideologies, especially in patriarchal societies, and causing an improvement in the opportunities available to women, it has also given rise to a bandwagon effect where people that know nothing about the principles of feminism claim to be one.
These are the ones that bring weird ideas into feminism and promote hate against men. They are the ones that make demands that tear the fabric of established values apart even when such do not infringe on the rights of women. This extreme brand of feminism not only preaches hate but also infringes on the right of men and creates a false sense of entitlement and myopia which makes you believe you are being cheated because you are a woman. This extremism poses a threat to loving relationships between men and women as well as women to women as they attack women that hold separate beliefs from theirs.
This is why many women who appear to be pursuing feminist goals reject the feminist label, which they think can be elitist or racist. But irrespective of what is happening, feminism has become a corer part of today’s women. Naomi Wolf, an American feminist aptly described this when she argued in the 90s that it is the era of the genderquake where women are changed forever.
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