By Raewyn Connell, The Conversation
The past four decades have produced gains around the world for women and girls in literacy, formal education, life expectancy, workforce participation and access to some professions. We have also seen new forms of misogyny, continued domestic violence, unabated rape, casualisation of women’s labour and reassertions of masculine authority.
Women are now more visible in politics, but are still almost wholly excluded from the top levels of transnational corporate management, religious authority, control of technoscience and military power.
This turbulent history has an intellectual dimension. We have created a new field of knowledge – and conflicting theories of gender.
Next year will be the 20th anniversary of the United Nations’ Beijing Declaration, a landmark statement on women’s rights. UN Women is gearing up for a big event to mark the anniversary and renew the struggle for gender equality.
Next year is also the 40th anniversary of the first World Conference on Women, held in Mexico City. That conference launched the UN process. It was itself triggered by a remarkable worldwide mobilisation, the Women’s Liberation movement.