Jun

14

2017

#FeministPeripheries Book Launch

On Friday June 9th, Centre Maurits Coppieters and European Free Alliance Youth jointly released their new book “Feminism on the Peripheries of Europe: An Inclusive and Intersectional Youth Approach” at a special event in Brussels. Five of the book’s authors traveled from Wales, Faroe Islands, Valencia, Silesia, and Carinthia to Brussels to share their personal experiences and views on possible feminist futures.

While the initial aim of the book was to center young voices in discussions on feminism, it also opened up a new conversation about the intersections between cultural diversity, political power and gender equality in Europe. This is because Europe is structurally and institutionally unequal. Some cultures and territories are politically and geographically marginalized out of political decision-making, economic activity and cultural production. Therefore, women and gender or sexual minorities can experience several layers of prejudice based on their gender, sexual orientation, race, nationality, language, religion, class and other identities.

At the book launch, the authors discussed political mythology, workplace discrimination, sexist language, reproductive rights and feminist mobilizations, among other issues. The panelists recognized that although women have a lot in common in terms of experiencing patriarchy, by looking at the lives of women from minorities or oppressed nations, we start to see the importance of intersectionality in the way that it embraces diversity.

This collection of essays is a product of almost a year of research, reflection and writing. It is inspired by countless young women and LGBTQ+ individuals enacting feminist transformations from the margins – many of them featured in this book. Lena Kolter shared her literary resistance to masculine language and Marta Sorlí explained how she defies patriarchy and stereotypes in the political sphere; “I am the young parliamentarian in jeans.”

Angharad Lewis argued that preserving women’s history is an act of resistance. Speaking on the case of Wales, Angharad poignantly explained that even though women have always been a part of Welsh political movements, its history is not inclusive. By challenging this flaw, uncomfortable questions are posed about political heroes and national identities.

With this book, the authors and editors hope to inspire solidarity and provide a basis for feminist cross-cultural work. Karolina Rzecepecka reminded us that, “the struggle for guaranteeing women the right to make decisions about their own bodies and reproductive health is fueling a feminist awakening throughout Poland, across age and geography.”

The book highlights the importance of creating and continually striving for a fair society built on gender equality. As we heard from Guðrun i Jákupsstovu, changes in education, work and politics are crucial: “We need representation and role models. Even in highly developed Faroes, where women are well-educated, many end up leaving our islands because of entrenched gender roles in the industry sector – a big part of our economy.” This book represents a vision for an inclusive and intersectional feminist future that needs to be heard.


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