On International Women's Day everyone is talking about feminism, but are the words followed by deeds?
Berlin, 07.03.2023. Feminism is everywhere and on everyone's lips. But are feminist approaches only announced and instrumentalized in the next step, or are they really consistently implemented politically and socially? What day would an intersectional, anti-racist perspective be more appropriate than International Women's Day?
Just last week, Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (the Greens) and Federal Development Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) presented the new guidelines for a feminist foreign and development policy. Even if we expressly welcome these approaches – Feminism must not remain lip service. According to Baerbock, these approaches are not "nice to have" but "actually a matter of course". Of course - because the feminist movement emerged as a fundamental and radical critique of a discriminatory patriarchal system. Therefore, feminism must constantly question the narratives in which it is embedded. Today as well. We need a political feminism that actively works towards dismantling structural hierarchies and power relations.
But what remains if we take a closer look? Where is the feminism that is fighting for the liberation of ALL people from patriarchal violence in an intersectional and anti-racist manner? Because when the Foreign Minister says "women's rights are an indicator of the state of our society", we not only have to declare this claim, but also live it. And insist on our own responsibility domestically. If we take politics at their word, how does this theory translate into practice? If there is a clear case for German or European feminist foreign policy, it is now Iran. Or Afghanistan. Or Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Palestine, the Kurdish regions. We all remember the flood of images in autumn 2022, the worldwide declaration of solidarity with the democratic and feminist movement in Iran. While the oppressive regime of the Islamic Republic has been poisoning thousands of schoolgirls for months, leading politicians are going along with it “Jin, Jiyan, Azadî – woman, life, freedom" on the street. But it shouldn't be just a slogan.
If feminist approaches to foreign and development policy are combined with the fight against systematic oppression, then we not only need feminist guidelines, but practical, decolonial and intersectional approaches. Instead of bureaucratic declarations and non-binding resolutions by the United Nations, a consistent power-critical and feminist approach now requires the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to be put on the EU terror list. There is enough evidence. The sanctions must be tightened so that they hit those in power and those in power. And not the population, who have limited access to food, medicine and other goods due to sanctions.
At the same time, it is not feminism that Germany and NATO are arming the Turkish state with weapons and billions of euros - the state that is taking action against the Kurdish population and refugees in violation of international law and just last month dropped bombs on Kurdish areas despite the earthquake. It is not feminism that this country's development policy does not adequately acknowledge the gender impact of the earthquake (which is now over a month old). Women are particularly affected there, in the border regions where they have no access to health care and food. This is exactly where we need a feminist foreign and development policy.
All over the world, women are experiencing and being vulnerable from society and politics made group oppression. It remains to be hoped (and to be seen) whether a feminist foreign policy will really change anything in these realpolitik circumstances. We demand a comprehensive, well thought-out and intersectional feminist perspective and will no longer be fobbed off with realpolitik arguments, especially not today! We demand solidarity with all people, especially with those who are pushed into the most vulnerable positions by society and politics.
Out on the streets - March 08th is every day!
DaMigra eV represents the interests of women migrant organizations and their concerns and advocates equal opportunities, equal participation and the equality of women with a history of migration and refugee experience in Germany. DaMigra follows the approach of anti-racist feminism.
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