Since feminist topics have all but dropped off the Active Topics (AT) list, I think it's time to give the forum more visibility again.
I've just finished researching and writing an article on Occupy and feminism. I wanted to know if feminism was changed by Occupy like some other movements were, or whether feminism changed Occupy. What I found was a little from column A and a little from column B.
Being an activist myself, involved in organizing social forums and movement assemblies, I have a good sense of how far women, feminists, have come in progressive circles. The answer is: not far enough. Not nearly.
My research, interviews and personal experience tell me that white men still have the dominant voice, that women, people of colour, differently-abled people, have to talk louder than the men in order to be heard. They have to insist upon having a voice. However, as a white feminist I'll stick to what I know and not appropriate the voices of others.
At its inception, Occupy (Wall Street) was not very inclusive. Women, POC, other grassroots organizers were practically mute. Feminists and others pushed for the creation of a Women's Caucus, a People of Colour Caucus, and other caucuses that would empower those without a voice. There was even a Safe Spaces Caucus to address the sexual harassment women were experiencing within the movement.
A similar experience occurred within Occupy Toronto, and according to my very knowledgeable and experienced source, it took a lot longer for these groups to gain a voice here, north of the border.
My experience with social forums and movement assemblies was different in many ways, and in some ways drearily the same. Caucuses sprang up immediately: women's, people of colour, original peoples, disability, etc., but still people had to fight to have a voice. I was frequently talked over by men during meetings, as were other women. Women were often the first asked to take notes during meetings (this has long been a pet peeve of mine) but quite often men took notes (an improvement over the past few decades). During a movement assembly planning meeting I was asked to run errands across the venue. I pointed out that I was a 52 year old woman with osteoarthritis and wouldn't be the best candidate. He immediately turned to the woman of colour next to him and asked her. She was, like, are you kidding? None of the men were asked as far as I know and the idea was shelved.
Over the more than 25 years I've been active in progressive circles I've seen a lot of change for the better, more equity, stronger voices from women and grassroots, etc., but I've also noted certain things that sadly remain the same. Less and less frequently women have a voice because their male partners are in leadership positions, but on occasion it's still a factor. It was certainly common when I was a young activist and thankfully is less so now.
My question is: how much longer will half the human population continue to have to yell to be heard? When will there be an end to the constant blowback women get for simply demanding a seat at the table?