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Feminists: Why are we still here?

Posted on 06/03/2015
By Commonwealth Foundation
(Image credit: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World)


Celebrated since the early 1900s, International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements of women around the world, while calling for greater equality – this year’s theme is “Make it Happen”, encouraging women to actively create change.  Yet, when you set out to change the world – things don’t change overnight, or even in a few decades. There’s no straight line to progress. Women all over the world are still living lives of gross inequality, injustice and frequent violence.

This is why feminist activism still matters, why feminist writing is as important as it ever was, and why stories are so crucial to inspire women to overcome the obstacles they face. So to mark the day we asked feminists who’ve been making it happen in their given field for many years, to reflect on their work, tell us what keeps them going and what still needs to change.

Everyday, for 12 days, 12 women from around the world – from writers and publishers, to filmmakers and activists – look back on the long haul of social change and ask themselves: Why am I Still Here?

Anne Else lands8 March 2015“Why are we still here?”

Wellington writer and commentator Anne Else on why feminist writing still matters in New Zealand.



Sitawa-150x1179 March 2015 – Feminist is not a dirty word

Poet and playwright Sitawa Namwalie on the incremental fight against deep-rooted gender equality in Kenya.



Urvashi-Butalia-150x11710 March 2015 – Is feminist publishing still necessary?

Urvashi Butalia, founder of India’s Zubaan Books, reflects on the changing landscape of feminist publishing and its relevance today.



Martine Delvaux-150x11711 March 2015 – Women disappear every day

Writer and academic Martine Delvaux on the importance of feminist writing in countering the erasure of women in Canada.



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA12 March 2015 – “Women direct only 9% of feature films

Film activist Marian Evans on the deficit of complex female protagonists in New Zealand’s film industry.



ellen o'malley camps-150x11713 March 2015: – “A different kind of activism”

Trinidadian activist and artist Ellen O’Malley Camps on carnival theatre, working in a maximum security prison and fifty years of feminist activism.



Ella Henry-150x11714 March 2015 – “What have we really achieved”

Maori academic Ella Henry on indigenous women’s rights, and the need for women to re-politicise their personal lives.



Zubeida Mustafa-150x11715 March 2015 – “60% of women still oppressed”

Pakistan’s Zubeida Mustafa reflects on the need for two strands of women to unite in Pakistan’s women’s rights movement.



Diana-McCaulay-150x11716 March 2015 “Acting keeps despair at bay”

Jamaican environmental activist Diana McCaulay reflects on the long haul of social change, and why she keeps going after 24 years.



Esi 201417 March 2015  Herstories in the making”

Academic and civil society activist Esi Sutherland-Addy on how the creative voices of women across generations strengthen her resolve not to stop.



Firdous Azim-150x11718 March 2015  “Women are still the second sex”

Firdous Azim, a member of women’s rights group Naripokkho, on the importance of feminist concepts in combatting gender segregation in Bangladesh today.



MargaretBusby-150x11719 March 2015 – “Granddaughters of Africa”

UK publisher Margaret Busby on her groundbreaking anthology Daughters of Africa, the ups and downs of Black feminist publishing and why she has hope for the future.


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