“Women are pioneers building political futures” an opinion by Iva Petkovic on a feminist Europe

News / 27.6.16

In the process of re-thinking Europe, the question of gender equality should always be on our minds and on our agendas. Feminism, as an inclusive and inter-sectional movement, has a wealth of knowledge to contribute. Friendship and cooperation can lead to emancipation by rejecting racism, xenophobia, sexism, women’s poverty and gender violence, and instead building bridges of solidarity across gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, cultural background, age and other identity markers.

In the process of re-defining Europe, struggles for self-determination and greater decentralization of power, not only require an internationalist dimension, but also a feminist dimension. History has largely been stolen from women, despite their immeasurable contributions in the fields of art, literature, politics, science, civil and democratic movements, and other spheres of life. Who is actually the “demos” in democracy? Although history denies the stories of Others (the marginalized), the future re-definition of what a “peoples’ democracy” could mean to us, leaves an open space to recognize and incorporate women into our vision of a democratic Europe.

In the process of re-building a more democratic Europe, consisting of varied and complex societies, the diverse experiences and voices, as well as struggles and hopes of women must be taken into account. This is even more relevant today as we are witnessing the slow crumbling of a fragile European project. To turn the tide, all societies, in all their complexities, should see women as co-creators; as pioneers that can also build political alternatives.

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Opinion piece by Iva Petkovic, Project Manager of the Centre Maurits Coppieters delivered at Feminism on the Peripheries of Europe conference in Cardiff, Wales (25 June 2016)