Wednesday, July 30, 2008

On International Feminism

I'm fully aware that it's always risky to write about feminism or its lack in other countries or to suggest that feminists in some country could tackle the problems women face in other countries better than the people who actually live there.

But a newish aspect complicating the question how to write about all this is the following: With greater movement of people across national boundaries the views about women in one culture may suddenly impinge on the lives of women in other cultures.

An obvious example of this is the ways different cultures define what makes a woman a prostitute and how such a woman can be treated. Immigrants bring their understanding of these questions with them and clashes with the new host culture are possible. Some of these clashes can be dangerous for the women in that culture.

But even corporate values can travel, these days. Japanese managers or Russian managers might very well bring with them not just physical luggage but also their views on the proper place for women. Or they might not. But this particular topic should be discussed, I think. Even though it's full of hidden mines in terms of colonialism, racism and so on.