Author: Annika Skogar

Feminism as a tool for peace.

Previously here on Girls’  Globe we have written about what it actually means to be a feminist. The definitions might be endless but at the same time being a feminist is very simple: 1.) Feminists believe that women are typically subordinate to men in society. 2.) Feminists have a strong will to highlight and remove the aforementioned subordination. A non-feministic society has a male-dominated hierarchal structure. Aspects associated with masculinity (i.e independence, strength, heroism) hold greater value  than feminine characteristics (i.e sensibility, weakness, dependence). This way of thinking does not exist only among individuals, but also in the international arena. Therefore, I dare to argue that communities that lack a male-dominated hierarchy but maintain a feministic mind-set inevitably sustain a more peaceful society. Here is a sample of expressions of current male-dominated hierarchies: Hindu nationalist leader Bal Thackeray said, “We had to prove that we are not eunuchs” while explaining India’s nuclear tests in 1998; In 2009, Barack Obama got accused for trying to “castrate the nation” when he publicly announced his vision of the …

Quotas: now!

I have spent the last 10 weeks in India researching women’s political participation in Goa. The female politicians are very few in the state (only 2 % of the members of the legislative assembly are women). Over and over again I’ve asked female politicians I’ve met: what can be done to solve this problem? What could make you feel encouraged running for an election to the state legislature? To get into the sphere where you rightfully should have an equal share with your male counterparts. Almost everyone has mentioned the same thing: Quotas. We need quotas. Quotas are not cheating. Quotas are a step to make this world fairer. Here are three reasons why:  1. THERE’S ALREADY RESERVATION FOR MEN Common to all 192 countries in the world today is the fact that people on the highest positions in society are men. That is not because they are more competent. That is because we today have a structure in society; let’s call it an invisible reservation bill, which favors men. Some people like to call it …

Voters of Dependency

“Voting has become an empowering act for women. It gives women the feeling that they are independent to do what they want.” The words came from Smita Gupta, deputy editor at The Hindu, right after the five state elections in India 2012. The five states were Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Uttarakhand and Goa, and all of them had one thing in common: more women than men had gone to the ballot boxes across all the states. The biggest difference was seen in Goa with 85.97 percent women voting in comparison to 79.67 percent men. As I have mentioned earlier, Goa is on top when it comes to literacy rates and standard of living compared to rest of India. No one was therefore very surprised that they took the lead in voting. I read the statistics some months ago and concluded that “oh, education must be the answer”. Five months later I am not so sure about that any longer. The political parties in Goa are very effective in the work of setting up self-help groups …

The Lost Daughters

I have now spent three weeks in India. It has been three weeks of an endless number of impressions, which have made me feel both inspired and frustrated, sometimes at the same time. The main reason for that is because of all the women’s activists I have met who are dedicated to change the future for the small girls of the nation. Because if it doesn’t change, there won’t be many girls left in India. Sex-selective abortion is illegal in India but widely common. A daughter is far too often considered to be a burden and is therefore aborted in favor of a son. Why? Lack of education is usually the answer to most of the problems we are facing in the world (“If people only knew how to read / take care of their garbage / have a good health”) but female feticide seems to have other explanations. In Goa, one of the states in India with the highest standard of living and literacy rates, there are only 920 girls per 1000 boys in …

Why equal representation?

In 2011, the global average of women in parliament stood at 19, 5 %. That means not even one out of five is a woman. Only 9 of the world’s 194 states in the world have more than 40 % female parliamentarians. Today’s representation in parliament is a clear sign that the work for a more gender balanced world is still being neglected. And with few women in the legislative bodies the situation is likely to persist since these are the institutions where policy directions are set. Policy directions that will shape the economic, social and political future. Without a balanced representation between the sexes, the concerns and interests that come from women’s experiences will not be given equal attention in a parliament. Studies have shown that when the presence of women increases, both substance and shape of politics change. Rwanda, known for the horrific genocide that took place between April and May 1994 has today’s biggest representation of women in the whole world – 56, 3 %. This started as a consequence of the …