Feminism is that women get an equal share in all the assets, opportunities and power that men currently enjoy. That women have the right to bodily autonomy. That women aren’t objectified. That our legal system, especially in the areas of rape and domestic violence, is reframed into something less traumatising for women. Challenging the insidious sensibility that things achieved by women are somehow second-rate or second-class. I’m definitely a feminist. I have no reservations about identifying as a feminist. Absolutely not. But it should be noted that a lot of effort has been put into recalibrating the meaning of the word, so that it conjures an image of shrill, strident, hairy fishwives.
This is a neat linguistic trick: if the only title for a movement which wants the best for women is a toxic one, it has the effect of shutting women up and shutting women down.
I agree with gender quotas for several reasons. First, the optics: we’re not used to seeing many women further up the ranks in workplaces, but the more we see it, the less people (men?) will resist it. Secondly, our current workplaces are hierarchical and adversarial systems which are thought to be ‘male’.
In my experience, women tend to operate in a more consensus-based way, and the more women are in positions of power, the more they’ll introduce that style of working. This will then make it even easier for women to flourish. Thirdly, the fact that childcare is still regarded as the function of the female parent is the biggest factor that keeps women from advancing in the workplace. If quotas are introduced, more of the childcare will have to be done by men, which can only be a good thing, for everyone.
At the moment, men do one-third of the world’s work and get paid nine-tenths of the world’s wages, according to WHO statistics. The amount of power that men wield is unquantifiable, but whatever it is, it’s a lot more than women have. So obviously it’s not unfair on men to make things even.
However, power and money are nice, and I believe a lot of men are frightened at the idea of relinquishing them.