The next Hundred Years

Speech by Eva Cox at Museum of Sydney, Women's Day 2011 20/03/2011

I’m going to come clean about my not so secret feminist agenda: I want to put making good societies high on the political agenda and reduce economic means to serving our social goals. This approach follows up on my 1995 ABC Boyer lectures when I tried to stem the economistic tide by raising social capital, but the arguments lost out when we had Howard for 11 years!   So my starting point is why feminism, as the basic tenet of the women’s liberation movement, would make different futures to our current social trajectory. Feminism engages with the issues that make up the bulk of our goals for social well being: relationships, connected societies, valuing care and emotions/feelings, rather than just macho defined growth, productivity, and markets

I want to start you thinking about some actual questions so this lecture will hopefully lead some of us to rethinking where we are going and what we need to do to increase the limits of influence and power women currently have.


Politics and change

1.     Has much of feminism lost its direction by just accepting parity in a male defined world?

2.     Have too many women’s groups been co-opted into accepting small changes to the status of women and little else?

3.     Were we wrong in assuming that having more women in top positions will seriously change current macho cultures of politics and business?

4.     How do we put the good society back on the political agenda rather than continuing to allow policies that assume we live in an economy?


Humans value connections, acceptance and respect but somehow politics has become all about money and trade. And that emphasis doesn’t work. No one’s last words are ‘I should have spent more time at the office!’

The recent, still unresolved GFC shows how markets failed us, but those in power have not yet recognised we live in a society not an economy and need to address the quality of those aspects of our lives. My awareness of the importance of our social ties comes from both my involvement with Indigenous communities and my long-term feminist activism and thinking. Both suggest that our quality of life would improve if policies improved the links between people and in communities. Such changes could allow us to solve collaboratively the many serious environmental and socio-political threats we face.

We often talk of waves of feminist change. My perception is that this one has been slowing and even receding for some time, with relatively few serious gains over the past 20 or so years. Some recent gains are worth noting and could be harbingers of more, but they are limited. So it is time we reviewed what we have done and how at least in the 60 years since the publication of The Second Sex and the 40 plus years since The Female Eunuch. Have active feminists compromised too many of the demands of what we defined in the 70s as ‘women’s liberation’ and just settled for equality on male terms?

The next hundred years need changed political priorities, including many of the issues feminists put onto the agenda. We need wider and better leadership than is currently on offer. So where to from here? Today is a starting point, I hope, for renewing the agenda.

I start with an analysis of what feminism has done and what went wrong, followed by some immodest proposals for change. These are limited and reflect my current priorities, so need to be expanded. The whole exercise is designed to make you into activists filling out the rest of the agenda and doing something about it.

We were very successful in the first decade plus of the seventies: making significant changes to the legal system, changing basic assumptions about pay and putting feminist issues such as child care and violence against women onto the political agenda. After that, the more radical ideas of feminism lost out to neo-liberal policies and politics using market models of individualised choice, greed and risk.

Change has been slow enough to ensure that much of what we wanted in the last hundred years is not there yet: equal pay for one! However, lots has changed for women and to the benefit of women in the wider society, so it is time women looked at changes and challenges. What can we put forward as feminist views of the future? How do we make sure there is another wave… and maybe many more. If we are serious about challenging the still masculinised status quo, we need to put up our ideas and debate the wrong decisions. I hope my questions and some explanations will start many conversations and political action. 

Some big issues we still need to change

Paid and unpaid work

·      Should we put shorter working hours for all on the political agenda?

·      Why is part-time work seen as less productive and important than full-time work?

·      Why have working hours become longer with productivity linked to hours worked?

·      Could a feminist workplace use new technology for flexibility of time and place!

·      Why are soft feminised skills still underpaid and undervalued?

·       Who does most of the unpaid and paid caring and domestic roles? Why?

·       Why are the inequalities between women increasing?


Evidence of the gaps

·      Why do women apply for fewer senior jobs and only when fully qualified?

·      Why are there so many fewer women contributing to Wikipedia? (15%). It means the feminist /alternate viewpoints are under-represented.

·      Why is there a minority of older female film makers entered in Tropfest but about equal more girls in the junior one?

·      Why are there fewer women competitors for art prizes? fewer women playwrights? Theatre directors? fewer women literary reviewers? fewer women film directors but more producers? (not sure of this now but certainly slipped from 80’s to 90s)

·      Why so much focus on media body images but much less on the how little girls and boys are gender imprinted with differences between princesses and more adventurous boys’ stuff? 

·      Why do so many women not volunteer or seek out top jobs or upfront roles?

·      Why do most women dread speaking up in public and how do we change that?

·      How do we change the fear of making mistakes or taking risks that hold too many women back?  

·      Do women really have choices? Or does socialisation tie us to accepted roles?

·      Why do so many women ‘choose’ to delay child bearing?

·      Why is marriage still regarded as so important we spend more on it, and same sex people want it too?

·      Why do we assume the parenting of children should be the responsibility of one or two people?

·      What is parenting now technology is changing biological relationships? 

·      Have we reduced violence against women or just added services?


The personal as the political

·      How do we provide leadership in a world that requires some new ideas and input?

·      Are there enough women prepared to publicly raise their views, talk up or out of turn, take risks and challenge the status quo?


What and why are there problems?


Serious social change for the better is never easy or fast. Making societies fairer requires shifting power and resources from those who have too much to those that have too little. While power is neither a zero sum game nor a finite resource, sharing it more equitably requires changing the status of its current controllers. As gender is the basis for some very basic but also intimate power inequities and iniquities, this set of changes or a revolution is likely to take a long time. On that basis, maybe the 100th year of IWD does celebrate multiple waves of changes including the vote for women in many countries, increased rights, more paid work, fairer wages, fertility control, education, health care, protection against violence and equal opportunities to ensure that more women were appointed on merit.

Oops! There is the nub of the current problem – who defines merit? So the anniversary is also the time to start thinking about the next 100 years. And I do think we will still need to be pushing for change for at least another century because the changes have stalled and we urgently need to rethink the directions. Is feminism in its broadest sense still a significant influence for change? Not really! We influence a few relatively minor changes but too many women’s advocates have had to lower expectations to being grateful for small reforms!

Women’s liberation in the seventies wanted to change the basic power structures but now we too often just ask nicely to let some women have bigger shares of the current set-up. Even in that strategy, progress has stalled and, in some areas, we are going backwards: in pay, in positions with serious power, and in shifting the way our contributions are valued. Yes, there are more women in top jobs but that is because they have made it through the current system. They are too often there because they fit into current models so are not going to lead changes. We were naive to believe that more women in leadership positions would make a big difference. Individual successes also mean the gaps between women on top and at the bottom have become bigger, and the more radical social and political changes have not (yet) happened. We used to have a badge that said women who wanted equality with men lacked ambition.


So what do we need to do in the next hundred years?

These views come from my nearly 40 years as an activist feminist, as a recent researcher on Indigenous issues, and as a practicing sociologist, filtered through reading and my own research. I have worked all the sides – political adviser, lobbyist, researcher, consultant, bureaucrat and small business owner – always as an active advocating feminist. I do not fit easily into reformist or radical labels but my feminist politics were framed by de Beauvoir’s statement that one is not born a woman but becomes one, so I believe social, not just individual, changes will make the revolution possible. 

Was there ever a unified goal feminists could all agree on? The quick answer is no, feminisms are always diverse and Western feminism has been deservedly criticised for its many blind spots. But there is an overarching goal that we can all share: redistributing power and influence so the gendered issues and interests that exist in all cultures can be equitably recognised. Such changes involve power shifts in all areas of life, not just those deemed to be public, which will threaten many current cosy assumptions and power bases, so this type of change is not easy. However, it is the only way to achieve a genuine sharing of both the rights and responsibilities in all societies without being limited by our assigned genders.

What we hoped to in the seventies was limited by that this being the last decade of post war optimism, when major good social change was possible. Along with other liberation groups on race, sexuality and other rights, we pushed for many changes that now seem to be so normal we forget how recent they are. These were equal pay for the same work, fertility control, anti-discrimination laws, sole parent payments, early childhood services, criminalising domestic violence and a range of histories and research that uncovered and publicised the activities of women. Women flooded into the workforce, and we joined political parties and other institutions of power that controlled and distributed the rewards and resources of the nation. We pioneered the idea of femocrats, of infiltrating the public service, and that helped us get some 70s feminist demands partially adopted.

We won many battles, mostly the obvious legal ones, some improvements in economic status and some changes in social attitudes but, interestingly, these make it much harder to identify and object to the less obvious continued difficulties and injustices. The changes mean that prejudices and gendered values are often hidden and invisible, unlike the blatant discrimination that made us very angry.

The seventies and into the eighties were our political heyday but, since then, change has been very slow or quite minor. These further changes were obscured by the massive ideological shifts in the 80s from the politics of social change to the veneration of the market that focused on an economy of individuals. The collective side of feminism, and similar political movements, was out in the cold.


Remaking the agenda

Our gender agenda is still worth pursuing because it hasn’t gone far enough yet BUT it also needs renewal. The many substantial changes in power, economics, politics, technologies, workplaces and social relationships from the late eighties have increased the complexities of different societies, beliefs and power relations, and seriously reduced the power of the state and its commitment to collective risk taking.

It is time to remake the agenda. We need to think through what the next wave should include.

Wave one got the vote and hoped this would allow women to make changes. The second wave was more eclectic and hoped more women in power would allow us to make bigger shifts. That hasn’t happened — momentum has slowed and slid backwards in many areas.

How feminism connects with social collectivity

The shift in the eighties has shown there are serious social consequences when the collective and interpersonal aspects of any society or group are undervalued. Their current omission from public policy is likely to result in society fragmenting or the threads of our social fabric fraying. Whichever metaphor makes the images more vivid, the basic concept of joined up people is very absent in an ever more economics based model of disconnected choosers. Society, at its best, needs to be about people collectively able to work for the common good, respecting our many differences and recognising universal communalities. Social well being is the sum of both the material and relational resources needed for the good life and therefore these items should be distributed fairly and diverse contributions valued and recognised.




This viewpoint fits into feminism because both recognise that humans are essentially social beings: interdependent, dependent and independent. These views reflect life experiences that include what is allocated to both the public and private feminised spheres, so it is not gendered. This concept contrasts with societies based on individuated economically rational man who has to choose between (his) connections and solitary freedom.

Given our connectedness, the question is what types of linkages are desirable for making the social connections we may want to achieve. How do we define the scope and quality of connections, their appropriate breadth and resilience? A new feminist agenda would need to challenge many assumptions of the current economic paradigm

The sixties and seventies agendas were set by women whose politics came from their experiences of being second class citizens and worse. Young women today have come together from very different experiences and often not perceiving they are personally affected. Serious feminist change for the future needs to involve both personal and the wider political and institutional collective operations in tandem, if we hope to  change the institutions of power as well as the local practices.


The feminist change project - the women’s movement and what we did and didn’t do

But first I want to acknowledge what we did and didn’t do. The women’s movement in the seventies was extraordinarily effective because it was a time of change and we had new perspectives on citizen needs that demanded the engagement of the state as a major actor in making changes.

However, we lost our novelty and were overtaken by new and powerful paradigms that pushed markets rather than states as the major power distribution basis. This gradually replaced social goals with economic ones. The result is there have been few public debates about what makes a good society: the feel good factors of relationships, connections, caring, mutuality, sharing, community and communalities. These have been replaced with equations, commodification, and gross domestic production that have nothing to do with households.

Women’s studies in academe, which had been aimed at redressing the knowledge gaps, became gender studies and often fragmented under the influence of post modernism, which questioned universal views and the collectivist goals that had driven earlier change. I accept the need for correcting both western assumptions and excessive faith in the state but the processes fragmented broad coalitions into many smaller often competing groups. Together with reducing the power of the state, the results were less political power and competition for public funds and attention.  

There are still active feminist groups but they are smaller and often more specialised. Many are caught up in funding and service delivery, others struggle with the rest of the community sector to find donations and deliver services. Many older groups, like other membership organisations, are finding difficulty in working in a more fragmented and time poor political environment. The new technologies are changing numbers and types of membership as well as types of political involvement. Political parties and lobby groups have professionalised as have many not-for-profits so there is little space for ideas to be discussed.

The corporatisation of education and political groupings also suppress new ideas as fewer people publicly engage in the basics of public intellectual discussion and political debate. New ideas on the more progressive side of politics seem very hard to find, with much energy going into stopping losses rather than opposing malfunctioning paradigms such as neo-liberalism, let alone developing credible alternatives.

The women’s movement was further fragmented, partly by our successes in creating a multitude of services, jobs and economic targets. The changes in the wider policy meant the mantra of individual choice replaced the idea of human collective liberation and the big picture became disconnected debates about equal opportunity as individual successes.

Some forms of feminism adapted with varying effectiveness to the economic demands of the new politics. These had some space for individual rights within a liberal tradition and pushed aspects of meritocracy that connected to market performance. So those parts of feminism that fitted individual female progression could be pursued. Similarly, the expanding market required productivity and higher workforce participation from all who could, so there was support for women to enter education and paid work to achieve individual successes.


Dealing with the effects of neo-liberalism

The major consequence of the shift in the eighties from social goals to economic ones was the devaluing of connections between people, society and community. These were replaced by economic traders who operated in markets and defined progress as increases in GDP. This was a global shift that undermined many of the liberation movements of the previous decades but was particularly toxic for feminisms because so-called neo-classical economics fails totally to recognise those areas of human society that are not exchanged at a price. In sum, the economic model further excludes from public and political spheres the areas of social and familial life that had been relegated to women and households by Western Industrial revolutions

One major change was the shift from public and community services was that many services such as child care went from entitlements to user pays commercialisation, with subsidies only when markets failed. Care was priced, commodified and commercialised rather than communalised, and dependent on employing low paid women workers.

As with many other paradigm shifts, the new formats were supported by those who had power and benefited from them. The changes they saw as good were reducing the power of the state and increasing the apparent choices as citizens became customers. There were too few questions of how this ever more macho culture would affect wider social well being as established by our perceptions of social equity and systemic fairness.

Inequalities were made worse by mixes of institutional discrimination and competitive demands that rewarded the greedy. There is now statistical evidence from Wilkinson and Pickett that inequality is more problematic than poverty, as it affects our perceptions of wider relationships. Their research shows strong relationships between inequalities and poorer health and social outcomes in unequal communities, regions and nations. This effect is often hidden when average income is used rather than the Gini inequality measures.

This finding reinforces the importance of social factors because the damage is likely to be done by perceptions of institutional unfairness. While not specific to gender, the factor shows the importance of enhancing social well being rather than just material wealth, to create the good society.   


Back to paternalism  

Interestingly, by the mid-nineties, the questions of social policy were returning to the political agendas but unfortunately as paternalistic unfair social control over those unable to succeed in markets. Those people on welfare who failed to manage in the market economy were again subjected to 19th century type controls to ensure the policing of order. Those failing to compete effectively in markets included groups such as sole parents, the unemployed and Indigenous communities with a more collectivist ethos.

Conservatives, both labour and liberal, such as Blair in the UK and the then incoming Coalition government in Australia, brought in more rigid ‘welfare systems’ which required tight individualised compliance. As social conservatism joined economic liberalism, the space for feminist social change reforms was increasingly narrowed.


Exposing the myth of choices

For most young women today, life seems generally good. They are optimistic, often surprisingly so when some of their circumstances are considered. They are the grandchildren of liberation movements but grew up when these views were overlaid by the neo-liberal revolution. They were told they had choices, and they have more than we had, but there are problems with the messages that makes them feel individually more in control of their lives. They are told they are individuals who have choices which means that their failures, if/when they come, are often seen as personal problems rather than social pressures, and therefore may not arouse any political ire. There is a tendency to believe that what is, is what will be, and serious political change is not even an issue. While technology and other aspects of life are changing, there is many seem not to see societal changes as something they can influence.




This leads too many to say feminism is passé because they can choose to do whatever they want with their lives and are not anti men, but fail to recognise the gendered basis of valuing skills, tasks and even achievements. Most of their choices are illusory. If many women do choose to spend time with children, why should this type of choice accrue a workforce penalty well beyond differences of time commitment? Care responsibilities are not integrated into a wider set of workplace arrangements that acknowledge the good life is more than paid work and choice should mean a non sexist balance is possible.




A young women in an online forum summed it up. ‘I am at the age now where babies seem to be popping up all over the place with colleagues, friends and family all welcoming new additions to their home. But in every single case it has been the mother who has taken a year off for maternity leave with the father taking a few weeks off to help after the birth (which is a great start).’ She went on to show political nous: ‘It seems that the problem lies with employers and society deeming it as acceptable for women to remain at home to care for their children while it is almost unheard of for men to do so. The other thing to consider is the difference between the wages of men and women. Of course if the man earns more it would be a lot easier financially for him to remain full time in the work force.’


There is also the problem with who does domestic work. While more women have moved into paid work, men have not taken up their share of household tasks. The latest time use study shows that men do not no more a day on domestic duties than a decade and a half ago, but women have cut their time use by 10 minutes a day. Even non-employed fathers spend less time on domestic work than non-employed mothers and full-time working mothers spend almost double the time on household duties than equivalent fathers. And it’s not changing with younger people with females 15 and 24 still spending 1.7 the time that males of this age do on domestic chores.


It is not just a numbers question

These figures and many more suggest it is not easy to make changes. EEO started with assumption that having more women in top positions would make change happen, and it has in small ways, but we failed to allow for the capacity of institutions to protect themselves against those who wanted to change them. So we are now stuck, and have been for some time, in economic terms – wages, money and power.

We need to note that moving women in senior positions has not resulted in major shifting cultures nor has their presence in those positions led to serious shifts in ‘the ways we do things round here’. The continued workplace cultures make sure that few, if any, who rise in organisations, threaten the tenure and power of current incumbents. Similarly, in politics there seems to be little change to basically boys games that turn women off or make them comply with the dominant cultures.


Feminist leadership, not just women on top as the way to go?

The connecting social (t)issues will never make it into the public spheres of male run political worlds unless we get feminists to change the agenda. However, we still have a deficit in women prepared to take on the change the system roles. We need to explore why it often so difficult for women to be change agents and lead new ways of thinking. Women are currently being socialised into being leaders that fit in and are mentored to make sure of that. There are programs galore that assume that women can be trained to be just like men, or at least acceptable to the current cultures and fit in.

No one runs programs about being a change agent because it often means being defined as a difficult woman. It requires women who eschew being rewarded for being nice and never offending others. We also need women who support the dissidents and stirrers, the other women who are leading the feminist changes. We need to become part of the push to see that female leaders are not punished for being politically pushy, stroppy and difficult. We need to push alternatives views about what is real female leadership not just what is still seen as acceptable through masculine eyes. This requires feminists to stop training women to fit in to senior ranks, unless they are prepared to be subversive, and few are!

Being a change agent, particularly if you have lots of ideas, needs to be recognised and validated because it doesn’t fit comfortably with the wider concept of being a ‘good’ woman. As someone who has tried this, I can attest to the problems it causes when you try and push the current boundaries.  We tend to live in fairly pessimistic un-imagining times because the obvious changes are scary enough to limit the desire for more.  

What are the issues as I see them now?

I question the theory that women and men have choices. No one can have everything, we all have to make choices about where we put priorities as time and resources are limited. However, the choices that we make should not be limited, encouraged or penalised just because they are assumed to be typical of being male or female. What a person wants to do should be judged on the merit of how well they can  perform the tasks, not on whether it is seen as more appropriate for a woman or a man to do


Making time a measure of quality of life

What is the relative value, to us and to others, of the paid time we spend in the workplace, versus time spent unpaid on the care and nurture. Why is it a most unlikely option to get more men to work part time, take on more care and domestic work and/or the lower paid jobs that often mirror the home care tasks? Is it just that fewer men have had the socialisation that encourages women to take on unpaid care and low status, low paid jobs?


We need to look at how to shift the basic attitudes to paid and unpaid work, the gender stereotyping of jobs and ridiculous undervaluing of the often more productive part-time workers. This involves questioning the confusion of long hours of being there with productivity and the need to re-evaluate underlying assumptions about skills and job prestige that reflect archaic male defintions of value setting.


Technology, skills, jobs and locations

Mobile phones and other devices have changed both the content of paid and unpaid work and the need to always be present in workplaces for many occupations. We should redefine the ways we work and where where this is possible and reward those who are stuck in one place.

The content of jobs has changed. We have basically stopped making things with our hands and repairing goods, and the expanding areas are offering services to people, or using our thinking capacities. These types of tasks depend not on arcane skills with tools and widgets but on human capacities to determine needs and communicate. Most workers are now no longer labouring but thinking. However, these changes have not been reflected in revaluing types of workplaces, use of time and diverse hierarchies of skills and knowledge. Pay, status and value have moved somewhat but within parameters still set in the 19th to mid 20th centuries. Let’s have an inquiry into what is a skill and productivity and move away from the VET macho models of tradies.


So why not redo time budgets

Why not have a norm of a thirty-hour week for all those with care responsibilities or preferably for everyone? Shorter hours could be as productive and allow time for other responsibilities as well. Why not have an assumption that we all take time out, part time or full time in our lives to care, say an allocation of up to four years over one’s working life allowed for all of us. Like a sabbatical or long service leave, it could allow people to dignity of approved care leave and a set pay rate, part government funded, to cover it. Income support should supplement low pay areas when others are being cared for


Some further immodest suggestions

Let us stop defining any issues as a ‘women’s issues’, relegating their content to the ghetto of soft skills or biological choices. Activities labelled as feminist often started as big or small p political but are reduced to the point of being trivialised because the term has been degraded, the issues sanitised and demands reduced. We need to put issues onto the ma(i)n agendas and stop being apologetic about them.

We need to redefine areas like fertility control, child care and parental leave as general mainstream issues and politically gender neutral. We can continue concerns about media images and sexploitation, but add the diversities of Others to the views we want to have of where we live and who we are. We need to tackle the other areas that affect our lives and put social values into the economic e.g. money, tax, superannuation and retirement income and why couple income tests assume financial inter-dependence.

Remember equal pay is about valuing the work and skills that are associated with femininity, not just attracting girls into the higher paid male made jobs, Why do we not value the HR director more highly than the CFO? They do more good and less damage.  

We need to examine how we fund and pay for care services to support those who need them. We need to restructure paid and unpaid work in many ways. One priority will be to provide paid support for those with disabilities so they can be socially and/or economically active.

We need to redefine how carers’ (women’s) time has been commercialised and underpaid, and restructure care as locally owned and based services that part of community and collective supports. Cultural diversities need to validated and incorporated and first nation contributions recognised and validated. .

Child care is a clear service that needs to be collective, community-based, rather than run by for profit drop off corporates. Those caring in these services need to be well paid and their informal as well as formal skills are recognisedEqual pay needs to move from a women’s issue to fairness in the workforce as do other workplace issues. Rather than focus on workplace harassment and discrimination, let’s reformulate equal opportunities as part of wider criteria of ethical workplace cultures that do not discriminate unfairly

Anti violence should be wider than just women and children because we need to change the way all of us exert control and solve disputes.

Let’s feminise all health services, not just women’s health e.g. put nurse practitioners and midwives alongside medicos, rather than the current hierarchies of male medical models.

Reproductive control and the changes of IVF and other forms of parenting need to be fed into discussions. These and other changes in how we live, travel and move around, including ever bigger houses, are all factors we need to develop and debate.

We need to take into account the many other changes that affect how we live and work, in both the paid and unpaid workforce. New technology makes it easier to move around in many types of work and should give flexibility and release from presentism, not be used to contact workers out of hours.

This list is not exhaustive as there are many important areas I have not included. These include environmental issues, the media in all its new and old glory, popular and high cultures, diversities of women’s needs, and redefining merit in creative arts. We could start with reframing the life cycle as a series of time budgets that requires feminising the financing issues such as taxation and income issues like moving from superannuation to time out payments to support the social needs of others in our life cycle.


Feminist leadership for wider changes as the way to go?

The connective social (t)issues will never make it into the public spheres of male run political worlds unless feminists change the agenda. The problems of current models are how to connect up what life is all about: what happens in homes, communities and public spaces with the ways to control the public world of politics, employment, trade and industry. 

It is time for feminism to lead in rebuilding collective possibilities by reinstating the valuing of social linkages over economic growth. Feminisms need to unite us within our differences by recognising the basic gender power divides have not been reducing over the last three decades but been enhanced by the machismo of economic models.

I am an optimist despite the long years of frustration because we have been able to make some changes. I still believe we can overturn the current dominant structures of power and replace so-called universal (male) values with those that include the feminine e.g. care, emotions, relationships, reproduction, ethics and nurture.

We need new big feminist flavoured options to make more civil and egalitarian societies. Rather than just doing the critique, we need debate on options and ideas. That means being ready to push the boundaries harder than we have recently, and take on some thinking leadership. We have women who are prepared to be more difficult and less nice. If you do not feel comfortable with being personally pushy and maybe not liked, at least you should support those who do risk take. Being nice and polite is not likely to achieve changes as it is too often ineffectual! So can we work on both the processes and content needed for making feminist changes to the social system in the coming difficult times?

Fairer futures need feminist leadership because many of the current flaws are still deeply masculinity framed and limited. We need futures based on making social connections and collective lives both fairer and more ethical so we can deal with the environmental and social crises that are likely. Human societies are capable of both good and evil and it is up to us to make possible and encourage our capacities for being better angels. The feminist versions of lights on the hill should be beacons of hope.


Over to you!


Delivered MOS 8/3/11