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Fourth Wave Feminism: A Digital Revolution?

Tuesday September 8th 2020 | 19:45 – 21:30 |

Suffragettes, burning bras, demands for reproductive rights… Although we still have vivid images of feminists, most of these concepts are considered a part of our recent or even not-too-recent history. And yet, feminism is alive and kicking. The fight for equal rights worldwide has never disappeared, but the way feminists express themselves has changed radically.

In the 1960s, we began to structure the history of feminism using the method of consecutive waves. The general consensus is that the fourth wave of feminism started in 2012, with a focus on sexual harassment, body shaming and rape culture. It is connected to historical contemporary events like the Women’s March in 2016 and the #MeToo movement. Fourth wave feminism embodies a broader scope than exclusively emancipation for women. Contemporary feminists view inequality through an intersectional approach: all marginalized groups should offer each other support and recognize the power structure that marginalizes all of them.

What makes this wave unique is the way contemporary feminists utilize digital channels to make their voices heard. Marginalized groups can share ideas more freely because of the unprecedented accessibility of online communication. This mutual impact of social media on fourth wave feminism will be one of the features of this talk.

Margit van der Steen is a gender historian and researcher for the University of Leiden and the feminist institute Atria. She specializes in the political history of feminism and will provide the historical perspective on fourth wave feminism. Lisanne Kemp is an organisational psychologist and the founder of FEM, an intersectional feminist platform, and The FEM Psychologist. She is an expert in mental health in the workplace and will talk about female leadership. Rosa Wevers is a PhD researcher at Utrecht University and specializes in feminist perspectives on data and technology.