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Global feminism by Colleen Hodgetts

July 2, 2010

This post is a part of the Global Feminism series, where each GAB editor is sharing her/his own definition of global feminism. What does global feminism mean to you? Discuss this definition and your own definition in the comments below, and join the GAB editorial board and fellow readers for a live chat discussion about global feminism on Monday, July 19 at 8pm CST.More info about the live chat here

To me, global feminism is a repetitive name, as my feminist identity has always included a global perspective. Global Feminism is the idea of gender equality across national borders with an awareness of different cultures, languages, and experiences. It involves standing in solidarity with women who face inequality in a different way than I do. As a Western feminist, a large part of global feminism, for me, is listening: taking a passive role and allowing women who are often spoken for or about to speak for themselves.

  1. July 2, 2010 10:46 pm

    I totally agree. To me, that’s been an issue with Western feminists. We often make the mistake of thinking that women across the world are down ridden and so oppressed that they can’t speak for themselves. While ignoring the feminist movements that take place in specific countries, and feel that it’s our job to “rescue” them.

    For me, means thinking beyond my own Western feminism and understanding that liberation for me may not be the same type of liberation for a woman in South Africa or India. I have to understand that my struggle may not be their struggle. It also means standing in solidarity with women’s struggles across the globe.

  2. Helen Hoy permalink
    July 4, 2010 10:45 am

    I like Cheri Moraga’s definition: “”Third world feminism feeds the people in all their hungers.”

    August 7, 2010 12:14 pm

    It is true — that women in different societies experience inequalities differently — because equality is not necessarily the aim of all societies. In traditional societies hierarchy is the usually the norm. And women conceive of their place in society in context of that long-held and nurtured social hierarchy. The 50 Million Missing Campaign which fights female genocide in India — finds this to be a very frustrating problem. Right now there are thousands of female infants killed in India every year within 6 months of birth. Generally — the job of the killing is done by women (either the paternal grandmother or the midwife who delivers the baby). Mothers after giving birth often reject the baby. Many will kill their new born girls themselves. Do they hate their own babies? The painful answer is yes. They hate their girls just as they have been taught to hate themselves. She is as valueless and inferior in the social function and hierarchy as she is! Every 20 minutes one young married woman is gang-lynched in India by her husband and in-laws. And the months of torture and abuse that precedes it is generally always done by the mother-in-law and sisters in law. The problem with third world feminism right now — is that it has not yet picked up the courage to look itself in the mirror. Maybe it is too frightening or too painful. And the anger towards ‘first world’ feminists is probably a defensive response. But ultimately third world feminism will need to look into that mirror. Because we haven’t yet, that is why in India today we have killed more than 50 million women at various stages of life. It is the worst outcome of a society’s misogyny.


  1. Intro to the Global Feminism Series « Gender Across Borders

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