Chronicle of the Month – March 2008

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Is feminism outdated?
By Mathilde Captyn

mathilde_captyn March 2008 is the women’s international day. But why celebrate a day for only 51% of the world’s population? The 20th century saw numerous feminist movements created to obtain the right to vote, the right to abort and to get rid of the conservative image that a women is expected to spend most of her time in the kitchen cooking for the whole family. Today there is, for a large part because of these movements, equivalent rights. Can we say that feminism and the celebration of March 8 have no more meaning today?

The context is more difficult today. The word « feminist » is very often used in a pejorative way, describing women against men, women protesting, being aggressive or complaining. Feminism has nevertheless very good reasons to exist as there are still a lots of disparities. The situation in Switzerland is a very good example. If we take the average of all professions, every working women will have a yearly income of about CHF 14’447 lower than men, which makes a 21% difference. If we look at the work hours completed by women, the disparity is even bigger. And if we look at part time work, almost every other working woman works part-time, while only 12 % of the men do. Finally, if we look at part time work for working women with small children, then the percentage rises to about 75 %.

While the feminist fights of the 20th century established laws of equality in numerous countries, these laws are still not enforced properly. As long as we do not reestablish the place that children, family and the roles of every one in our society have, nothing will change. The purpose is not to have everybody work a 100 %, but to give them the freedom to choose: be a mother or a father at home, work part-time, or 100 %, without being considered marginal. We must try to evolve and change society as this is the only way to make equal opportunity a reality.This is why the the celebration of women’s day is still a necessity. So Ladys! Let’s celebrate and participate to the parade!

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