Why Doesn't Patriarchy Die?
No matter where in the world we go, we find that men and women are not equal. Everywhere in the world, violence and sexual crime is on the horizon. We want to know what makes patriarchy so resilient and how it fits with diverse political systems - capitalism, socialism, theocracy.
How is it that the 21st century continues to be defined by unequal sexual divisions of labour, and throws up new platforms for sexism? We want to find the fissures and contradictions and the ways in which the rise of feminist resistance is unsettling the new order. This book will investigate where and why patriarchy flourishes and where and why feminism thrives?
This is an ambitious project - we will visit Egypt and speak to the women activists of the 'Arab spring' to understand why they were failed by it; we will visit the autonomous Kurdish areas to report on a transformative experiment in gender equality and radical democracy; we will go to India to question whether the law can protect women from sexual violence and what civil society levers can be used to improve implementation of the law; we will go to Saudi Arabia to explore the tensions in the patriarchal trade-off between restricted freedoms for local women in the public sphere against freedoms from domestic chores carried out by imported women ‘slaves’; we will talk to Femen and Pussy Riot to assess how feminist spaces are squeezed when religion gets into bed with dictatorship and why they are expanded in secular dicatorships like Saddam Hussein’s. This is not an exhaustive list.
We also want to look at the culture wars where feminists attempt to wrest popular music from its sexist roots and how the internet has become a magnified version of society, the new stalking ground for policing women’s behaviour; the radical potential of eco-feminism which lies in its direct challenge to one of the fundamental planks of capitalism – chasing growth in GDP; we want to re-examine the category of ‘woman’ as a social and biological construct in the face of the gauntlet thrown down by transgender communities and ideologies.
A thoroughgoing analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of one of the most challenging political and social movements of our age is long overdue. It cannot be carried out without your support.
'At last. A serious engagement with patriarchy! It is the most intransigent mechanism for halting progress towards a just world. Here two great writers will grapple with the greatest brake on Liberty that stalks our world. Hallelujah! '
- Helena Kennedy