A Research Companion
Edited by Mustafa F. Özbiligin
Chapter 28: Gender Equality: Not for Women Only
* Michael S. Kimmel INTRODUCTION It has been nearly a century since the first official International Women’s Day was celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, organized by the great German feminist Clara Zetkin, who wanted a single day to remember the 1857 strike of garment workers in the US that led to the formation of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. On March 19, 1911 – the date has changed since then – more than a million women and men rallied to demand the right to work, hold public office, and vote. Think of how much has changed in that century. Throughout most, if not all of the industrial world today, women have gained the right to vote, own property in their own name, divorce, work in every profession, join the military, control their own bodies, challenge men’s presumed ‘right’ to sexual access once married, or on a date, or in the workplace. Indeed, the women’s movement is one of the great success stories of the 20th century, perhaps of any century. It is the story of a monumental, revolutionary transformation of the lives of more than half the population. But what about the other half? Today, the movement for women’s equality remains stymied, stalled. Women continue to experience discrimination in the public sphere. They bump their heads on glass ceilings in the workplace, experience harassment and less-than-welcoming environments in every institution in the public sphere, and still must fight for control of their bodies, and end victimization through rape, domestic violence,...
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