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The future of feminism

What's next for feminism?

21 07 12.femnism.ata

In our next IAI Live debate on July 19th, Sonia Poulton, Myriam Francois, Peter Tatchell and Ruth Michaelson will be our panel speakers on The Final Wave. This event is free to those with an IAI subscription, and for those not yet subscribed you can get your tickets here

After second wave feminism came a third and then a fourth wave. So, what comes after that? We asked our four speakers the question “What should the future of feminism look like?”

Myriam Francois sees the need for aligning feminism with other related fights for justice, like the recognition of the experiences of the marginalised, but also the need for the reform of capitalism and its exploitative tendencies. Feminism can’t simply be a demand for women to be equally represented in the top echelons of today’s corporate machinery. That machinery itself has to change.

Sonia Poulton on the other hand is adamant that the focus of feminism should remain wholeheartedly on the issues that uniquely afflict women – child brides, female genital mutilation, the sex pay gap - rather than treat feminism as simply an expression of broader social justice concerns for marginalised groups. The need to find common ground between women’s rights and trans rights could not be missing from a discussion about the future of feminism.

Peter Tatchell advocates moving beyond bigoted divisions, and argues that defending trans people from exclusion and hate crimes cannot be achieved by no-platforming.

The future of feminism includes the search for common ground and reconciliation between women's rights and trans rights, instead of setting the two movements against each other. We are in the midst of an incredibly exciting and inspiring gender revolution, spearheaded by the younger generation of feminists, trans people and those who identify as gender-fluid or non-binary. This is a revolution in human consciousness, challening orthodox ideals of male and female, masculine and feminine. But these developments are seen by some as a threat to feminism and women's rights. Although taking a stand against the exclusion and hate crime suffered by trans people is the ethically right thing to do, bans and no-platforms suppress anti-trans views without challenging or changing them. We should encourage conversation and debate, and also focus on what all women, including trans women, have in common, rather than on what divides them.

Join the debate with Myriam Francois, Sonia Poulton, Ruth Michaelson and Peter Tatchell, which will include a chance to meet the speakers and put your questions directly to them. Stick around after the debate for an exclusive documentary premiere. All IAI Live events are free to subscribers, or you can pick up your ticket for the event here: here: https://iai.tv/live/programme/

Myriam Francois



Myriam François is a journalist specialising on issues related to Islam and the Middle East. She hosts the popular We Need to Talk about Whiteness Podcast.

Feminism doesn't exist in a silo - it is one part of a wider struggle for equality, balance and symbiosis between all who inhabit this earth. I hope the future of the movement will be one in which the experiences of the most marginalised women are cantered and where the movement's priorities are guided by the urgency of their needs, over and above demands for greater integration into a hyper-capitalist model. I hope that the feminist movement will recognise the urgency of pushing back against economic models which demand exploitation and be at the forefront of what I see as a central focus: the recognition and respect for the feminine as part of a sacred balance.

Sonia Poulton



Sonia Poulton is a writer, broadcaster and social commentator. As a music journalist she did a tour of the War Child Exhibition with David Bowie and was one of the last journalists to tour with hip hop artist, The Notorious B.I.G. before his murder in 1997. Not afraid to tackle controversial topics head on, she has investigated knife crime, pushy parents, obsessive compulsive disorder and the sexualisation of young girls.

The Future of Feminism must be exclusively female. As women, we have come far but not far enough. We still have gross worldwide injustices from female genital mutilation and child brides to the sex pay gap and women continuing to take the lion's share in raising children. Until we have resolution in every single area that impacts women's lives it is not our job to focus on any other maligned or marginalised group.

Ruth Michaelson



Ruth Michaelson is a journalist who has covered the Middle East for almost a decade unafraid of speaking truth to power - evidenced by her being removed from Egypt for questioning the official Covid case numbers. She reports primarily for the Guardian as well as other outlets.

Any discussion of the future of feminism by definition should be inclusive. As feminists, we need a clear vision of our collective priorities based on human rights, and that means going beyond "girl boss," feminism that views success as just straight, white, cis women in boardrooms. Feminism is also directly threatened around the world, from Turkey, to Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan, where feminists face severe risks for their activism. But looking to the future can also be about joy. We can find joy in thinking about how different aspects of the feminist movement enrich it and allow us to move forward, from sex workers collectives allowing us to better understand the nuances of consent, to trans and non-binary people showing how to overcome the burdens placed on us by gender. Feminism owes these parts of our movement more than just a friendly ear, it owes them the future.

Peter Tatchell



Peter Tatchell is a human rights campaigner best known for his work with LGBT movements and as director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, a human rights organization. He has recently had a Netflix documentary made about him entitled ‘Hating Peter Tatchell’.

The future of feminism includes the search for common ground and reconciliation between women’s rights and trans rights, instead of setting the two movements against each other. We are in the midst of an incredibly exciting and inspiring gender revolution, spearheaded by the younger generation of feminists, trans people and those who identify as gender-fluid or non-binary. This is a revolution in human consciousness, challenging orthodox ideals of male and female, masculine and feminine. But these developments are seen by some as a threat to feminism and women's rights. Although taking a stand against the exclusion and hate crime suffered by trans people is the ethically right thing to do, bans and no-platforms suppress anti-trans views without challenging or changing them. We should encourage conversation and debate, and also focus on what all women, including trans women, have in common, rather than on what divides them.

Join the debate at IAI Live 

Myriam Francois, Sonia Poulton, Ruth Michaelson and Peter Tatchell will debate the future of feminism live on the 19th of July at 18:00 BST. The debate will include a chance to to meet and put your questions directly to the speakers, and join us for an exclusive documentary premiere. All IAI Live events are free to subscribers, or you can pick up a pay-per-view ticket for this event. 

 

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