27.11.2016

Political feminism for a better future

Reclaiming inequality as the core aspect of feminism, a political feminist agenda can change reactive politics

Photo: iStock by Choreograph

Feminist theory since its inception has been preoccupied with the question of systemic inequality. Can a feminist outlook on political action, reclaiming this historical attention, redirect reactive policy-making towards structural change? Why is this needed?

Policy making has transformed into a course of crisis management! With this opening statement, Philipp Kauppert and Ina Kerner, authors of “Political Feminism for a Better future,” invite us to a discussion on a range of perspectives that a feminist approach opens for political action in the quest for a just society and social change.

Reactive and crises-driven political decision-making, the authors argue, is an anemic take against any of the serious problems caused by policy decisions that led to shrinking spheres and privatization of public goods – including security, education, health and water at the cost of record-high social inequality worldwide. Against this backdrop, Kauppert and Kerner look behind the crisis-driven arguments within and beyond Germany to propose how we may address the need of a structural change around the globe.

Feminism, they suggest, is not a “partisan political program.” A feminist theory, that reclaims inequality as its core aspect of critique, can offer broad and various perspectives for directions of democratic political action, and is able to link across social concerns, debates and movements for joint actions towards justice. The authors elaborate further the concept of intersectionality to illustrate how the concerns are connected to better understand the dynamics and challenges in our contemporary world.

By bringing intersecting lines of struggles to light, the authors aim at “comprehensive accounts of the diversity of challenges, perspectives, and entry points that go beyond the sometimes rather narrow foci of particular actors and their claims.”

With such knowledge, collective action for just and social change in the arena of development cooperation is indeed possible.

Read the paper in English or Spanish

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