What do you make of the midterm election results?
Women flipped the House and their role was crucial, and it seems clear that #MeToo and Brett Kavanaugh had something to do with that. And the precedents! More Native American women, Muslim women, LGBTQ candidates than ever. In the past, the feminist movement in the U.S. was somewhat skeptical about electoral politics. It felt the more effective venues for change were on the streets, in cultural life.
You’ve written that movements against sexual violence often succeed better than pushes for systemic change toward women’s equality. Why is this?
In India, one of the first issues that Second Wave feminists took on was sexual violence. In the United States, the creation of battered women’s shelters, the issue of domestic violence, was at the forefront of feminist organizing. When you can readily identify a harm and the harm is physical, it’s dramatic and people respond to it. It’s harder to identify the harms done by structural inequalities.
Should feminists feel discouraged or hopeful right now?
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Read the full interview with Professor Basu, “A Woman's Work Is Never Done,” published on December 4, 2018.