Yes, we went there, we dropped the big, fat F-word. Feminism, we’ve got to own it, don’t we?! If you’re still confused about what it actually means, let us tell you some facts about feminism that everybody should know.
1. The word ‘feminism’ first appeared in the English language only in the 1890s even though the struggle against gender-based discrimination has been much older.
2. The movement has been divided into four waves- the first fought for property rights and the fact that women contribute as much to society. The second broadened the debate during World War II, the third came with the true acceptance of the word ‘feminism’ and the fourth wave is the fight we live today against gender-based discrimination in the public sphere and violence.
3. One of the radical shifts in the movement happened when Queen Elizabeth I took over the English throne, proving that women can be in a position of power.
4. The first woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize was Jane Addams and is recognised as the “mother” of social work in America.
5. In India, unlike the west, the feminist movement was initiated by men and later joined by women.
6. Here it’s been divided into three phases: first when European colonists began speaking out against social evils of Sati; second during the Indian independence movement when Gandhi incorporated women into the Quit India Movement and finally post-independence women which focused on fair treatment of women at home after marriage and in the country.
7. Over 130 million women all around the world have undergone female genital mutilation. This is when girls have either a part or all of the clitoris and outer labia cut off, without anaesthesia. Often, they have a part of their vagina sewn up as well.
8. Women hold the two highest IQ scores ever recorded.
9. Worldwide, just 24% of senior management roles are held by women.
10. The first country to grant women the right to vote in the modern era was New Zealand in 1893.
11. It was in the 1990s that the pop band Spice Girls introduced the concept of ‘Girl Power’ by showcasing female bonding.
12. In 1770, the British parliament introduced a bill stating that women who wear makeup should be punished for witchcraft.
13. Globally, about one in every three will be raped or beaten in their lifetime.
14. In Saudi Arabia and Morocco, rape victims can be charged with a crime, such as engaging in illicit sex.
15. As many as 70% married women in India between 15 and 49 of age are the victims of rape and beatings.
16. According to UNICEF, fetal sex determination by unethical medical professionals has today grown into a ₹1,000 crore industry in India.
17. India ranked 108th among 144 countries on the Global Gender Gap Index 2017.
18. Cheris Kramarae once described it by saying, “Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings.”
19. In Ecuador, abortion is illegal unless you are ‘demented’ or an ‘idiot’. Additionally, the law is often used to criminalise miscarriages.
20. Many women see the introduction of the birth control pill as a turning point in the movement because women could now choose between having children or a career or both.
21. In India, it is claimed that patriarchy finds its roots and validity in religious texts of Hindus, Muslims and others.
22. Sexual intercourse within marriage was regarded as a right of spouses and India still doesn’t recognise marital rape as a criminal offence.
23. Feminism is about all genders – yes, we stand with trans people.
24. One of the tipping points in the feminist movement in India was Indira Gandhi becoming PM, people couldn’t compartmentalise women as much.
25. The #HeForShe campaign spearheaded by Emma Watson called for men to accept their feminist identities.
26. Marginalised women like those of colour in the west or from lower castes in India become even more subjected to gender based bias.
27. No feminist hates men or wants to burn bras. They just want equality.
28. Societal patriarchy is more deep-rooted than you think, it takes a whole lot of learning and unlearning to point it out.
29. Contrary to popular belief, feminism has nothing to do with belittling men, in fact, it stands against sexism against all genders and not female superiority.
30. According to statistics, women earn 78 cents for every dollar a man makes.
31. The iconic ‘We Can Do It’ poster was actually to mobilise Americans for the World War II but has now been widely accepted as a feminist symbol.
32. Feminism isn’t just a woman’s issue but actually concerns all genders more than you think. Hyper masculinity due to the patriarchal structure is as just as harmful for men.
33. The movement in all honesty is about freedom, respect, being kind and humane to each other.
34. In India, the sex ratio is 940 women to every 1000 men.
35. Approximately two million baby girls are killed here every year. Two million, let that sink in.
36. Two women are raped in the country every hour.
37. Actress and singer, Alyssa Milano used her Twitter account to start the #MeToo movement soon after the hashtag was tweeted nearly half a billion times.
38. The #MeToo movement not only opened people’s eyes to the horrors of the entertainment world but also to the reality in their own lives. Everyone saw that gender based harassment and violence is everywhere.
39. As many as one in every four women face physical or sexual violence during their pregnancy.
40. Young activists like Malala Yousafzai prove that there is no age bracket on wanting to fight for gender inequality. She was only 11 years old when she first started writing for BBC Urdu about her experiences under the Taliban regime.
41. Pop culture icons like Beyoncé, Kesha, Rihanna have mobilised many women to introspect and understand the nuances of inequality.
42. In India too, celebrities are no longer afraid to identify as feminists and actors like Sonam Kapoor, Swara Bhasker, Kalki Koechlin have used their platform to advocate for women everywhere.
43. Over 60 million girls are child brides, married before the age of 18 worldwide.
44. Human trafficking is considered the third largest organised crime, globally and the number is increasing every year. 20,000 women and children were victims of human trafficking in India in 2016, an increase of nearly 25 per cent compared to 2015.
45. 62 million girls are still denied an education all over the world and campaigns like ‘Let Girls Learn’ are working hard to change that.
46. At least 1000 honour killings occur in India and Pakistan each annually. Honour based crimes are distinguished by the fact that they are often carried out by a victim’s family or community.
47. Only 32 percent of all national parliamentarians are female globally
48. Even in the west, the rape statistics are horrific. One in every five women has experienced sexual assault at some point.
49. Every 90 seconds, a woman dies during pregnancy or childbirth even though most of these deaths are preventable, due to lack of education and healthcare for women. This is still the reality.
50. There are approximately 781 million illiterate adults worldwide – two-thirds of whom are women.
51. Over 150 countries around the world still have at least one actively sexist law. Like “legitimate” rape after marriage in India and unfair inheritance laws in the UK.
52. Feminism is also striving hard to fight against beauty standards that men and women are subjected to.
53. Women in science cannot be stopped: the only woman to win two Nobel prizes was Marie Curie (1867–1934). Her first award was for physics and her second was for chemistry.
54. Women are not allowed to vote in Saudi Arabia or in Vatican City.
55. The first woman to lead an Islamic nation was Benazir Bhutto who, in 1988 at the age 35, became the first and only female prime minister of Pakistan.
56. The first woman to receive a Pulitzer Prize was Edith Wharton in 1921 for her novel The Age of Innocence.
57. According to statistics, 30% of women who have been in relationships have experienced some sort of physical or sexual violence at the hands of their partner.
58. Four of every five human trafficking victims are women.
59. In 10 countries around the world, women are still legally bound to obey their husbands.
60. Efforts to bring marginalised groups like Dalit women to the forefront are one of the primary concerns of feminists in India.
61. 72% of acid-attack cases in India from 2002 to 2010 included at least one female victim.
62. 99.3% of women and girls in Egypt have been subjected to sexual harassment.
63. Kamini Roy, poet and suffragette, became the first woman Honors Graduate in India in 1886.
64. 10 trillion dollars is the estimated value of unpaid work performed by women every year across the world – twice as much as men do.
65. Women make up 64% of the world’s illiterate population.
Look, we aren’t here to hate on anyone. We’re just here to claim spaces that we’ve been kept away from for so long. We just want equality! And if you really are a feminist, scream it out to the world and proudly proclaim it that you are a nariwadi with this cool POPxo mug (Rs 499)! Trust us, your morning coffee will taste way better in a gender equal world.
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