Saturday, 14 June 2014

Feminism and peace

This weekend the Leamington Peace Festival rolled around once more.

This is a major annual event in Leamington Spa, the town that I was privileged to call 'home' for 13 years. It's basically a big excuse for a party in the name of peace.

The only tangible presence of feminism at the event was Amnesty International, which took its women's rights in Afghanistan campaign along.

Thinking about the links between feminism and peace, I am surprised that this was the only representation. It made me wonder where all the feminists are.


The moment that a Suffragette first chained herself to a railing began a war against inequality that is still waged today.

The Suffragettes refused to be appeased until women were given the vote. They were successful and a kind of peace followed, but that was really the beginning of women fighting for the right to be recognised as equal to men.

Feminism has a funny relationship to peace: it both breaks it and makes it. Feminism is a disruptive force which shakes up the discriminatory status quo. While women are discriminated against, then they cannot and should not be peaceful. For this reason, perhaps it has no place at a festival for peace.

But at the same time, we will be closer to peace once we have equality between the sexes - on a global scale. And so feminism and peace are inseparable ideas.

I hope, although feminism wasn't obviously in evidence, that the park today was crammed with feminists of all shapes and sizes who expect to be treated equally to men, and don't feel they could be at peace without this basic right.

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