Feminism representing equality beyond just genders, toxic masculinity, parental leave perspectives were some of the hot topics of our lunch time debate that took place just before the International Women’s Day 2020. The event gathered nearly 50 people and sparked a lot of discussion about what feminism is today and if it’s still needed in 2020?

Lisa Francis-Jennings, professional in Kitchen Table Conversation moderating, was the leader for this discussion. A kitchen table is one of the most common places to have your best and exciting conversations; the place where you have the best heart to hearts, you crack a few jokes, you have disagreements at, and so much more. So, it was the perfect setting for our Feminism discussion with 5 panelists with different backgrounds.

Julia Maria Zimmermann was our main speaker and also one of the panelists - PhD, a sociologist and the President of CID Fraen an Gender. She has researched on the construction of gendered identities in discourses in the EU and the Greater Region of Luxembourg. Julia Maria presented the audience some interesting insights and statistics on how we still have a long way to go to reach equality in Luxembourg, and how little women are still holding leadership positions on the government level.

Dana Moldoveanu is a coaching psychologist and trainer, President of Romanian Women Association and President of Positive Psychology Luxembourg. She thinks Feminism is still needed in 2020, but points out that the word feminism has the misinterpreted connotation ‘us against them’. For Dana, feminism is about the freedom to choose what you do and about making your own choices. It is also about feeling gratitude and inspiration towards the women of the past who didn’t have the same freedom and choices as we do today.

Patrizia Luchetta, a feminist with a high level career in a male-dominant world, told that she was a feminist from day one. However when she went into the professional world, she felt she needed to behave like a man. Patrizia resented women who chose to go on parental leave. It all changed when in 2014, a man got promoted over her - for the work that she had done - because the man was “nice”. This experience was a wake up call for her, she told herself “you’ve done amazing things, even leaving your little one at home, just to get recognition from people who don’t even share the same value”. Her mindset was forever changed. 

Jannika Salminen, a millenial from the Nordics, is a proud feminist and not afraid to say it out loud. In Jannika’s opinion, we should not focus on genders anymore. She thinks that the word Feminism is misleading as it has a gender word in it; Modern day Feminism isn’t about putting people in boxes but more about bringing all different minorities forward, because we all should be equal.

George Penn was representing Volt Europa as the second Communication Lead during this event; the party is very forward-thinking having two representatives (one man, one female) for each leading position. George wanted to persuade men that feminism is also important for them. In the UK, the biggest cause of the death for men under the age of 45 is suicide, commonly committed by men who don’t fit into the roles that society made up for them. The patriarchy systematically designed this “macho man” image. By supporting feminism you are also helping men to come out to be themselves.

The event had a warm atmosphere, powered by enthusiasm and willingness to support better equality. During the event, the panelists also joined group tasks and discussions together with the audience and sparked up some interesting discussions. At the end of the event, we collected a harvest of personal promises and action points on how each of the participants hope to plant a seed for change. As Feminism - in all its forms supporting equality - is still much needed.

Irene Mäkelä is Foundry and MasonBower’s Project Leader. She’s responsible for the overall coordination and implementation of projects related to go-to-market strategies, market growth and branding, but also working closely on our sustainability events.

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