6th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON WOMEN’S STUDIES: How Far Have We Got?
In the age of post-feminism when many are trying to argue that feminism is no longer needed because women have reached equality through the introduction of legislation and entry of women to all professions, the reality shows a different story. Women politicians, for example, are still scrutinised based on their looks and objectified. For example, in March 2017 British Daily Mail splashed a cover page screaming, ‘Never mind Brexit, who won the Legs-it’. The cover page was making the comment following the meeting of British Prime Minister Theresa May and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. In addition, many professions are still running according to masculine work patterns and thus many workplaces are still places for blokes. For example, in newsrooms women cannot succeed in obtaining editorial positions as the profession is still largely masculine with men reporting on politics, main news of the day and business while women are still confined to lifestyle, food and health. However, when traditional women topics enter the agenda then we see male journalists writing about it. In addition, female journalists hardly have any role models given the fact women who succeed in journalism become so bloke-if it becomes difficult for younger women to look up and see a role model or a type of women they may want to become in the future (Miller, 2014; Gallagher, 2017; Topic, 2018; Franks, 2013).
The situation is no better in advertising where there is still a major issue of sexual harassment and the culture of sexism visible in both industry treatment of women and sterotyped representation of women in adverts (Crewe & Wang, 2018; Siu & Kai-ming Au, 1997; Sandikci, 1998; Patterson et al, 2009; Kemp, 2017; Gee, 2017; Suggett, 2018). In public relations, scholars speak of the feminization of the industry that saw women entering PR industry in higher numbers but because of it, the salaries diminished and even though women form the majority of the workforce they still face issues such as glass ceiling and wage gap. In some countries, the number of women started to decline after a decade of the profession being feminized (CIPR, 2018). These are just a few examples from a few industries, but the situation is the same (or worse) elsewhere.
The societies are still based on patriarchal values. For example, even though it is legally possible for men to take paternal leaves and stay at home to take care of children and household, it is still women who have these requests approved more often than men, which testifies that patriarchal views of expected roles are still present. In addition, in some countries, women are still banned from exercising basic rights such as the right to vote, work in all positions and even the right to drive. While there is a number of men that experience family violence, it is still women who mostly suffer from this type of abuse, while those men who do suffer from it fear to report it due to the expectation that the men are the boss in the house. Nevertheless, with the rise of Far-Right political candidates and public speakers started to question Feminism and argue that it fulfilled its purpose, while at the same time re-introducing old prejudices and practices against women where an emphasis is based on their appearance, birth-giving, etc.
The questions the conference addresses are how far have we got, and what needs to be done to achieve true equality of both men and women, and a society where there are no expected roles?
Papers are invited (but not limited to) for the following panels:
Women and the rise of the Far Right
Women and labour
Women and discrimination
Women and sexual violence
Women and religion
Women in the media
Women and politics
Women and sexuality
Theory and methodology in women’s studies
Women and reproductive rights
Women and education
Women and leadership
Women in public relations
Women in advertising
Women in marketing
Women in IT