Is The Solution for Feminism and the End of Sexual Violence a Legal or Social Undertaking?

India: Is Feminism a Legal or Social Undertaking?

Asian feminism – particularly Indian feminism – is at its apex. "Not since the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in New Delhi at the end of 2012, has India witnessed such a surge of mainstream concern with sexual violence, rape culture, and patriarchy," Srila Roy writes in Economic and Political Weekly. She writes of the origins of Indian feminism. Indian feminism, she believes, grew out of the anti-colonial movement of the 19th century, when liberation movements were on the rise. The latest iteration, still debated, began at the end of 2017 when Raya Sarkar, a graduate student at the University of California published a list of 60 prominent male academics naming them as sexual predators in Indian academia, some have argued without proper context. The result led to a split between “third wave” feminists who wholeheartedly supported the Facebook list and those who were against the anonymous post. “If, for some, feminism is about legal redress and due process, for others, it requires an extrajudicial set of interventions given the repeated limits and failures of the law to bring gender justice. For some others, it is ultimately the voices of middle class and metropolitan women, journalists, actors, and other professionals that constitute the ‘me’ in India’s #MeToo.”

Meghan Markle: “Feminism is about fairness”

Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle gave a highly commented upon speech on feminism. The textbook definition of feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights based on the equality of the sexes.” On the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand, she delivered a much remarked upon speech hosted by the Governor General of New Zealand. “Suffrage is not simply about the right to vote but also about what that represents: the basic and fundamental human right of being able to participate in the choices for your future and that of your community, the involvement and voice that allows you to be a part of the very world that you are a part of,” she said. “So bravo New Zealand, for championing this right 125 years ago—for the women who well deserve to have an active voice and acknowledged vote, and for all of the people that this effort has paved the way for globally.”

Interestingly, British royals are not allowed to give “political public speeches.” Feminism, however, is viewed as a human rights issue.

100 Women in Powerful Positions

The #MeToo movement, according to the New York Times, brought down at least 200 powerful men. And more than 50% of their replacements are women." At least 920 people came forward to say that one of these men subjected them to sexual misconduct,” a team of journalists wrote.  “And nearly half of the men who have been replaced were succeeded by women." The original Harvey Weinstein piece is a little over a year old this month, followed by Ronan Farrow’s article in The New Yorker.

Gender Gap in the Financial Industry

Despite the fact that the blockbuster Harvey Weinstein story is one-year-old, the movement still has much work to do – especially in American banking, capital markets, financial services, investment banking and investment management. Investment banking, according to a Catalyst study, found that women hold less than 17 percent of senior leadership positions in investment banking. “In private equity, women comprise only 9 percent of senior executives and only 18 percent of total employees, according to a 2017 report by Preqin," CNBC Julia Boorstin writes. “At hedge funds and private debt firms, the numbers are similarly low — women hold just 11 percent of leadership roles.”

Senator Heidi Heitkamp Losing her Seat for Voting No on Kavanaugh

Senator Heidi Heitkamp is in a white knuckle race to keep her US Senate seat after voting “No” on Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. It was a profoundly principled move, supporting the testimony of Christine Blassey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of attempted rape decades ago. Public Opinion Strategies found that at the beginning of October 56 percent of North Dakota voters approved of Kavanaugh and only 26 percent opposed. The incumbent Senator Heitkamp now trails her opponent and challenger Kevin Cramer by 16 points. "The number of respondents with unfavorable opinions of Heitkamp had skyrocketed, from 41 percent in the previous poll to 52 percent now," The Hill reports. Still, there is a ray of light in this story of political principle. In the last 17 days the incumbent Senator has raised an astonishing $17.5 million, the bulk of it after the voted No on Kavanaugh. And in ND, $17.5 million is serious campaign money.

Discrimination at FX Network

The FX network passed on Comedy Central mega hit Broad City, calling it “too girly,” according to Vulture.

Midterm Elections: Women are Holding the Fort

Women may be the key to swing state midterm votes. "Since 2008, at least 52 percent of Colorado voters in even years have been women, according to voting records," notes The Denver Post. Further: “almost 74 million women and 64 million men voted in the 2016 presidential election, according to data crunched by the Center for American Women and Politics,” Glamour notes. “That came out to about 63 percent of eligible female voters, versus just over 59 percent of males.” Still, those numbers don’t automatically prove that the Republicans will lose control of the House, the Senate or both. In 2016, Trump won college educated white women over college-educated white woman, Hillary Clinton.

Cover image via Dissent Magazine