Editorial: Rethinking Feminism

Is feminism still a radical tool for change?

Equality is usually seen as the goal of feminism. Yet with women more than a third more likely to go to university than men, and with more female entrants to medicine and law, does this limit the horizon? Should we be championing difference rather than equality? Or is this a dangerous heresy that threatens progress?

In this issue of IAI News, activist Finn Mackay, founder of the London Feminist Network confronts the challenges facing feminism today. What goals should feminists adopt? In Feminism at the Crossroads, Mackay asks: is feminism still a radical tool for change? Or does it now only support the status quo?

By contrast, author and labour market expert Alison Wolf takes a controversial line. A gulf has emerged, she says, between the women taking over business and politics and those being pushed back as a result. In The Death of Sisterhood, she asks: might today’s most prominent feminists be to blame?

Such heretical opinions are the subject of discussion for sociologist Frank Furedi. He argues that society’s apparent liberalism hides an increasing intolerance to anyone who dares challenge our sacred truths. The result is a modern-day witch-hunt, and it is damaging for democracy, freedom and even truth itself.

But what do we even mean by truth? James Williams, professor of philosophy at the University of Dundee channels the writings of post-structuralist philosopher Gilles Deleuze to argue that we need to rethink the very concept of truth. “We must expand the real to include the virtual,” he says. It may even be time to move beyond truth and falsehood: what is important, says Williams, matters more than what is true.

Elsewhere, Mark Vernon explores the role of silence in both science and religion, while philosopher Mark Rowlands unpicks our understanding of evil. “A person is evil if they consistently perform evil acts,” he says. “Why they do this is irrelevant.”

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