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– The team at Les Glorieuses
December 27, 2021
Reading time : 5 minutes
2021: The Year in Feminism
As we come to the end of another long year in which all of our lives were dominated by the whims of a tiny, mutating particle, it is easy to focus on how hard things have been, particularly for women.
Still more pandemic meant yet more women dropping out of the workforce, more taking on an unequal burden of care, more who will find it harder to escape male violence, more health workers – predominantly women – putting their lives on the line, more women of colour dealing with the fallout of a virus that doesn’t discriminate, but does exacerbate every inequality that is already baked in to our societies.
And amid it all, the backlash against feminism continues, from Poland to the United States, Ghana to Afghanistan. It’s driven by those who don’t want girls to go to school or women to work, who don’t want people to terminate unwanted pregnancies, who don’t want trans people to live in freedom, or gay people to love who they choose.
But every day there are feminists pushing us all forward and towards equality: demanding better working conditions, overturning patriarchal laws, electing feminist representatives, advocating for trans rights within our own movement, denouncing male violence, demanding that care work be recognised and remunerated. That hasn’t stopped because of the pandemic, and it won’t stop until we are all free. In 2022, we will work hard to bring you their stories.
In the meantime, here are some of our highlights of 2021.
Top Five Feminist Victories
Impact’s Top Five Stories
- The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has been a hammer-blow for women’s rights, with an extreme form of hyper-patriarchy once again the norm. But the US also bears responsibility for the desperate situation now faced by Afghan women and girls. Afghan feminist Sahar Fetrat set out what has been lost in devastating detail.
- India was hit by a crushing second wave of Covid-19 in 2021, and in its wake women struggled to get access to vaccines at the same rate as men. Sarita Santoshini investigated what was driving the vaccine gender gap.
- The US drug war has arbitrarily incarcerated millions of Americans, primarily people of colour. But there is another group of people who get caught in its maw: expectant parents who use drugs who are subject to mandatory investigations by child services and risk losing their newborns. Catesby Holmes reported on how the war on drugs became a war on mothers.
- Uganda has been under a strict curfew since the pandemic began. This has disproportionately affected sex workers, who are being pushed into more and more dangerous situations just so they can make a living. Evelyn Lirri spoke to them about their experiences trying to survive repressive laws, corrupt policing and Covid-19.
- After 22 months of industrial action amid rain, snow and Covid-19, the cleaners of the Ibis Batignolles hotel in Paris won an enormous labour rights victory for some of the country’s most precarious workers, securing pay increases, permanent contracts and a reduction in the number of rooms they must clean per hour. I spoke to Rachel Keke about their remarkable campaign.
Other Feminist Reporting We Loved
- In Not Yet Satisfied, CNN’s Eliza Anyangwe shone some much-needed light on an often overlooked subject: African women’s right to sexual pleasure.
- The Other Afghan Women: Anand Gopal’s remarkable long read in the New Yorker explored how rural Afghan women had experienced both Taliban rule and the US occupation of their
country, providing a much needed additional perspective to the view from Kabul.
- Open Democracy’s team of feminist investigative journalists uncovered how therapists connected to US Christian right groups are promoting ‘conversion therapy‘ for LGBTQ+ people in the US, Guatemala and Costa Rica.
- Our sister newsletter, Les Petites Glo, surveyed more than 3,000 women and girls between the ages of 12 and 24 about their experiences with intimate partner violence. They found that nine out of ten had experienced violence or abuse in their relationship, and six out of ten had felt pressured into unwanted sex.
- In its aptly titled series, The Primal Scream, the New York Times examined the devastating effect the pandemic is having on working women.
A big thank you to the members of the team who put together the Impact newsletters each month: Agustina Ordoqui, who writes our feminist news wrap; Steph Williamson, who translates each newsletter from English to French; Heloísa Marques, who creates each issue’s incredible illustrations; and Alice Bertan, who disseminates our newsletter around the world.
Thank you also to everyone who reported for us this year, and most of all, thank you to our readers for believing in bilingual feminist journalism.
I’ll leave you with the words of the recently departed and much mourned bell hooks:
Come closer. See how feminism can touch and change your life and all our lives. Come closer and know firsthand what feminist movement is all about. Come closer and you will see: feminism is for everybody
– Megan Clement
Editor, Impact / Éditrice, Impact
This issue of IMPACT was prepared by Heloísa Marques, Megan Clement and Steph Williamson from the team at Les Glorieuses.
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