By Annabel Sweetnam-Groom
Living in the 21st Century, it is hard for some people to believe that we still need feminism, however University Technology of Sydney Adjunct Professor Eva Cox, writer, commentator and long-time activist for women’s rights and social equality, insists it is still relevant.
“We removed the formal barriers that restricted women’s rights to jobs, equal pay, and other forms of sex discrimination, but we are still not equal in almost every field,” said the veteran campaigner.
Professor Cox says it’s not just women who are affected by rigid gender roles.
“[Men and women]… are caught in expectations they will behave in stereotypical ways for men as are women.”
The most recent wave of feminism has extended to men and other gender identities.
“No more women’s issues, we need to set social priorities.”
“We need to change priorities to remind people we live in a society, not an economy and relationships, friends, culture, pleasure and feelings really matter, as do community and connections.”
“So feminist change is still needed and active feminists are certainly necessary. We may need to update what we do and how but unless you want to be always living in the shadow of men,” says Cox.
Feminist, Anthony Smith, who holds a Bachelors in Gender Studies and works at M Clinic as a peer educator, believes feminism can help men in a number of ways.
“Feminism can liberate men from the narrow construction of masculinity, and open up a more life-affirming and compassionate mode of being in the world.”
“Rather, it should be associated with more general traits such as compassion, honesty, and humility.”
Mr Smith says it’s important for the conversation around feminism to continue.
“The project of feminism is ongoing. Disparities and opportunities between men and women still continue. Certainly things have improved, but the improvements sometimes present new issues.”