Throughout the Reformation Year 2017, this site offers trendsetters and thought leaders a place to present their notions of change and innovation. What are the potentials and needs for current and future-oriented “reformations”?
Wanted: The Feminist Reformation
As a writer, journalist, and woman in Pakistan, I’ve come to realize two truths about the world I live and work in. (A) The world’s biggest religion is not Christianity, Islam or Judaism, but patriarchy, and (B) The world’s biggest revolution is taking place around us already, and it’s the women’s revolution. Women’s empowerment is the buzzword of today, women are working to make the world recognize the realities of gender-based violence and sexual harassment, and young women are getting the education and training they need today to become the leaders of tomorrow. But we still have problems, with governments and private sector alike still driven by sexism and discrimination.
What we need is a reformation of feminism: a complete re-examination and re-understanding of the feminist movement. Its history, its triumphs and its shortcomings, as well as how divisions in feminism (between “western” feminism and “global” feminism, “white” feminism and “intersectional” feminism) have weakened its strength and impact.
We need to recalculate how feminism will operate in today’s world, with all countries wavering on their commitments to women’s rights, a regression in reproductive rights in the West, the glass ceiling firmly in place, and the United States unable to elect a woman president. We need to listen to the voices of feminists coming from countries like Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and India: countries where the battle is fiercest and the stakes are highest. Women must realign and regroup, and create a new agenda for tomorrow’s feminists.
Bina Shah is a writer of English fiction and a journalist living in Karachi, Pakistan. She is the author of four novels and two collections of short stories. She is a regular columnist for the International New York Times, the Dawn, the Huffington Post, Al Jazeera, and has written for the Independent and the Guardian.
Her fiction and non fiction essays have been published in Granta, Wasafiri, the Istanbul Review, Bengal Lights, Asian Cha, and Critical Muslim. Her fiction and non fiction essays have been published in Granta, Wasafiri, the Istanbul Review, Bengal Lights, Asian Cha, and Critical Muslim.