On March 11-12, 2010, the Ms. Foundation for Women had the honor of convening an inspiring meeting on survivor-led activism on child sexual abuse prevention. In what was one of the first times survivors have been brought together to discuss child sexual abuse prevention in a social justice context, twelve activists discussed successes, challenges, and historic moments in their field. They established exciting shared visions and first steps for realizing them in this growing social justice movement.
Panelists include: Ara Wilson (Associate Professor in Women's Studies and Director of the program in the study of sexualities), Robyn Wiegman (Professor, Women's Studies and Literature), and Doriane Coleman (Duke Law School).
Location: Breedlove Room
Sponsored by the Kenan Institute and the Program in the Study of Sexualities.
As most of you know, March is Women’s History Month--a month dedicated to remembering all those amazing female figures too often left out of history textbooks. Do you know who your foremothers are? One of NCRW’s member centers, the Women’s Media Center, has been featuring exclusives on notable women all month. This week’s feature on Jeannette Rankin brought me back to high school and my early days of feminist awakenings.
"All my life, I was told that men and women were equal—so equal, in fact, that it wasn't even worthy of discussion. Like most of my friends, I outpaced my brothers and many of my male peers by a landslide in school, and took on extracurricular activities by the handful. I'd had it ingrained in me that I could accomplish anything I put my mind to. And I did, without ever embracing the fabled F word, or even learning about it in school.
"So for all the talk about feminism as passe, mine wasn't a generation that rejected it for its militant, man-hating connotation—but because of its success. Women were equal—duh—so why did we need feminism?
"It's only recently that I, and women my age, have come to eat those words."
In 1970, 46 women filed a landmark gender-discrimination case; their employer was NEWSWEEK. Forty years later, their contemporary counterparts question how much has actually changed.
Forty years after NEWSWEEK's women rose up, there's no denying our cohort of young women is unlike even the half-generation before us.
Yet the more we talked to our friends and colleagues, the more we heard the same stories of disillusionment, regardless of profession. No one would dare say today that "women don't write here," as the NEWSWEEK women were told 40 years ago. But men wrote all but six of NEWSWEEK's 49 cover stories last year—and two of those used the headline "The Thinking Man." In 1970, 25 percent of NEWSWEEK's editorial masthead was female; today that number is 39 percent. Better? Yes. But it's hardly equality. (Overall, 49 percent of the entire company, the business and editorial sides, is female.) "Contemporary young women enter the workplace full of enthusiasm, only to see their hopes dashed," says historian Barbara J. Berg. "Because for the first time they're slammed up against gender bias."
Susan Stryker is Associate Professor of Gender Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. She earned her Ph.D. in United States History at UC Berkeley in 1992, and subsequently held a postdoctoral fellowship in Sexuality Studies at Stanford University, as well as distinguished visiting positions at Harvard University, UC Santa Cruz, Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, and Macquarie University in Sydney. She is the Emmy Award-winning director of Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria, a public television documentary about a 1966 riot against police oppression by transgender prostitutes in San Francisco.
Angela Y. Davis is known internationally for her ongoing work to combat all forms of oppression in the U.S. and abroad. She has been active as a student, teacher, writer, scholar, and activist/organizer. Davis served as the keynote speaker for the 2009 National Women's Studies Association's annual conference where she honored Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Ph.D., NWSA President & Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Womens Studies at Spelman College.
After decades of marches, boycotts, lobbying and rallies, did the protests of the past 40 years really make a difference? Do protests still work? Can women still advocate change through social activism?