Women’s History Month, March 2023
Every march, we celebrate Women’s History Month! It is a month in celebration of women’s achievements throughout history. We will focus on how the women’s liberation movement has evolved throughout the years and how it still perpetuates exclusion.
The ‘Women’s Liberation Movement’ has Evolved
The women’s liberation movement started over a century ago, and has continued to advocate for the rights of women in a changing world. In the UK and the US, the Suffragette movement demanded the same rights and recognition as men, including the right to vote. This movement achieved great success.
There have been concerns over the years that women’s rights movements have been exclusively, or at least primarily, focussed on cis, heterosexual, white and economically advantaged women. The feminist movement has not always advocated for women from minority groups.
However, we are now seeing much more inclusion of women of colour, Black women, queer women and trans women in feminist discourses. Civil rights advocate Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term intersectionality. Intersectionality is a concept that accepts that people have various intersecting influences on the discrimination and/or privileges they experience. These influences affect race, gender, class, and beyond.
Intersectionality within the Feminist Movement
The lived experiences of a Black trans woman and a Black cis woman, or a trans lesbian woman and a trans heterosexual woman will all be different from each other. Nevertheless, they will also have many commonalities, including of course being women. This is why inclusive and intersectional advocacy is so vital.
Crenshaw’s ideas have proven really important in making sure that movements, such as the women’s right’s movements and civil rights movements, can be challenged when not inclusive. For example, fighting for the inclusion of Black women in the #BlackLivesMatter movement and challenging the exclusion of trans women in feminist discourses.
Conservative ‘feminists’ such as trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs), still hold on to outdated ideas of womanhood. However, progressives’ notion of feminism has changed. One singular definition of feminist does not exist. It differs based on individual’s identities and political points of view. While trans-exclusionary feminists are very loud and very aggressive, they do not own the feminist cause. Intersectional feminism is fighting to include trans women. This is the achievement we should celebrate during Women’s History Month.
Some feminist movements have privileged some voices (cis, heterosexual, white, middle-class and upper-class women) and excluded others (trans women, women of colour, queer women) for too long.
We also need to be mindful that women’s rights’ issues have had an impact on beyond trans and cis women. Many of the issues trans and cis women face, have also been faced by trans men. Many will have suffered effects of patriarchy, even if some might benefit from elements of the same structures after transitioning. Once again, this is where discussions of intersectionality are important. Campaigns and policies around abortions, periods, and parenthood need to become more trans-inclusive.
Creating a more Inclusive Movement
As mentioned beforehand, some cis white women have taken over feminist movements that particularly focused on the equalisation of cis women to cis men. However, creating a binary system privileging only cis people will not create equality, but merely create a different privileged cohort.
To achieve true gender equality, we not only need to dismantle the patriarchy but also erase the gender binary. This does not mean that women and men as gender identities will be erased. But, they will no longer stand in opposition to one another, allowing for more freedom of expression of all genders. This will benefit cis people too.
Moreover, we need to be careful in defining certain issues as ‘women’s issues’ who can only be discussed by women. There are many trans men and non-binary people who are also affected by the same issues women are. Therefore, a trans-inclusive movement is beneficial to all, not only women.
It is not feminism if it does not include ALL women and other gender identities who suffer discrimination under the patriarchy.
Today we celebrate Women’s History Month and the gains made by trans and cis women, trans men, and other non-binary identities in advancing equal rights for those previously denied. There is still a long way to go, from the perspective of equality as well as from the perspective of inclusivity.
Celebrating Women’s History Month at GenderGP
GenderGP is dedicated to fighting for all women’s equality. This includes trans women as well as cis women and any other gender identity outside of that binary. We celebrate all women and other gendered minorities at our company.
We still have a long way to go regarding women’s rights around the world. However, we should also be allowed to celebrate our wins. While not all our wins may look alike, we continue to strive towards the freedom of all genders from patriarchy as well as the gender binary.