Polity podcasts: Sylvia Walby – The Future of Feminism

Walby Future of FeminismSylvia Walby is Professor of Sociology and UNESCO Chair in Gender Relations at Lancaster University. Her publications include Theorizing Patriarchy, Globalization and Inequalities, and Gender Transformations.

I interviewed her recently about her latest book, The Future of Feminism, described by a reviewer as “[a] balanced and thoughtful assessment of the changes feminism has wrought and the challenges it faces”.

1. I began by asking her if she could understand the forces and pressures that created the widespread assumption that we are living in a post-feminist age. [Click here]

2. In her book, Sylvia Walby discusses how feminism has changed form from its early days. I asked her to give me a tour d’horizon of those variant forms here. [Click here]

3. Sylvia Walby contends that the “depth” of a democracy is critical to determining how successfully a feminist agenda can be pursued within it. I asked her to expand on this notion here. [Click here]

4. Despite progress, violence against women remains a problem in many different contexts. Given the range of different interventions – global human rights, international co-ordination, local grassroots – I asked Sylvia Walby if it was possible to assess their relative effectiveness. [Click here]

Sylvia Walby 4

5. If Sylvia Walby had been asked twenty years ago about where she thought the feminist agenda would be today, how accurate would her assessment have been? [Click here]

6. “Promising start, but major challenges ahead” is the heading of one of the final sections of the book. How optimistic is Sylvia Walby that those challenges can be met? [Click here]

To listen to the complete interview, click here.

To watch a short video about the book, click here.

1 Comment

  1. I have listened to Walby’s interviews, and so far I do agree with most of her analysis. Feminism has taken on different forms from what it was first known to be, these changes I think are also connected with other issues such as employment and the rise in female employment over the years. Moreso, feminism as a movement has been conflated with other movements as Walby herself mentions such as the trade unions and the like, and perhaps misconceptions and contradictions within the ideology itself. As an African, I think my understanding of feminism is completely different from the way it is understood in Western societies, and I argue that the movement is not ideally Western. Besides the point, I also think that the ‘rise’ in homosexuality has in some ways made many [people] I mean [women] shy away from the very idea of feminism these days, I might be wrong though. But one thing I have taken from Walby’s interviews is the fact that domestic violence or violence against women as I like to call it is increasing despite the many interventions available, I wonder if more awareness of women’s rights as human rights is needed and campaigns mainly targeted at women would help step down the incidences of domestic violence in society be it Western or elsewhere.

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