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Why feminism still matters in 2014

In 2013, it seemed like feminism was The New Black in the political sense.

The media finally seemed keen to focus on feminism / female-focused news. All five poet laureates in the UK this year are women, including Scotland's own Carol Ann Duffy. Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg encouraged us all to 'lean in', and even in the entertainment industry, everyone from Grimes to Beyonce were finally flying the feminist flag. TYCI, the Glasgow-based women's collective we run, went from strength to strength, promoting feminism on a grassroots, local level. But what now?

International Women's Day has been observed in some form since the early 1900s and tomorrow, International Women's Day is an annual celebration recognised all over the world, focusing on all that has achieved in the name of equality. But, in 2014, what is there left to achieve? A lot - because feminism is not 'over' for us yet. It still matters.

It matters because on average two women a week are killed by a current or former male partner, and one in four women will be a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime.

The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights find that one third of EU women (that's 62 MILLION women) have experienced either physical or sexual violence since the age of 15. Scottish statistics show that between 2012 - 2013, 1,372 rapes and 90 attempted rapes were reported to the police, and yet women of all ages are still part of a victim-blaming culture which tells young girls to "stay safe" instead of telling young men to "not be dangerous".

Feminism matters because the workplace is not yet equally ours. In the UK, the gender pay gap has widened for the first time in five years. And, despite the Angela Merkels and Nicola Sturgeons of this world, female presence in politics is still not the norm. Women are still massively underrepresented as MPs, MSPs and members of international political and legal organisations. Women are still considered to be primary caregivers, meaning that no matter how many initiatives intended to promote female participation in the workforce are trotted out by companies and the government, it is still the female partner who is most likely to choose family over career.

Although shared parental leave will replace the current maternity / paternity leave system from 2015, a recent TUC survey revealed that less than 1% of fathers were currently taking advantage of additional paternity leave rights, indicating that changing the rules won't change underlying attitudes.

We need activism everywhere, including in our entertainment industries. Women make up 51% of the world's population, and yet only 15% of protagonists in films are female. Of the 250 highest grossing films of all time, women made up only 6% of directors and 10% of writers.

Above all, feminism matters because it is not just about women. It is about promoting equality for everyone - and we mean everyone, from the LGBTQ community to BAME groups - and seeking to give all minorities the same rights as those in positions of privilege.

This is everyone's fight, and we live in a society which seems to operate under the false impression that feminism has achieved its goals - and it hasn't. We all need to work together to make a difference.

As Gloria Steinem once said: "The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights."

Happy International Women's Day.

Lisa-Marie Ferla, Rosie Roberts and Lauren Mayberry are members of TYCI, the Glasgow-based women's collective.

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