The feminism I advocate is Collective, Inclusive, and Transformational.

At the start of every talk I give or workshop I hold, I offer a definition of the feminism, because there are so many different definitions of feminism that we can’t assume that we’re all talking about the same ideas, values, or politics.

Often, though, folks want a little more information. Which kinds of feminism do I emphasize? Socialist? Separatist? Radical? Womanist? Which streams of “feminism” do I reject — Girl Bossing? Neoliberal? Libertarian?

For folks with this question, I offer a little more detail:

The feminism I advocate is Collective, Inclusive, and Transformational.

I start with my basic definition of feminism, below, which I describe in detail in my book and other writing.

“Feminism is a movement for all people to

  • End sexism and all* oppressions
  • Establish political, social and economic equality, and
  • Create a world in which all people and all living things flourish.

 

*note that “all oppressions” includes racism, settler colonialism, heterosexism, classism, transphobia, speciesism, capitalism, ageism, imperialism, nativism, ableism, anti-fat bias, and all oppressions.”

(Harquail, 2018)

 

Collective, Inclusive, Transformational Feminism

This definition of feminism draws from a larger body of thinking and practice that I’ve named “Collective, Inclusive, Transformational Feminism”.

Collective, Inclusive, Transformational Feminism draws from
the wisdom of streams and legacies of feminism that:

  1. Understand Feminism as a group project (not for individual advancement)
  2. Envision the equal humanity and flourishing of all people and living things 
  3. Aim to transform the matrix of oppressions to create a new world, by putting feminist values into practice.

 

This view of feminism is collective because it requires that we work for the liberation and flourishing of not only ourselves, but also the liberation and flourishing of everyone.

Some views that are commonly called “feminist” really aren’t because they don’t focus on liberating all women or all females, much less all people. For example, you’re likely to have heard of “lean in” feminism or “girl boss” feminism, both of which tell us that “success” is achieved by an individual business leader paying attention only to her own needs and her own perspectives. But any strategy for promoting any individual woman that does not simultaneously address the liberation of all women and all people is not adequately feminist.

 

This feminism is inclusive because it guides us to confront all systems of oppression.  All systems of oppression— starting with patriarchy, sexism and misogyny, and including White supremacy, settler colonialism, heterosexism, transphobia, ableism, nativism, and capitalism—reflect the same fundamental lie: that some humans are better than others, deserve more than others, and should profit by controlling and taking from others. As feminists, can we use our understanding of gender and sex-based oppression to help us understand other systems of oppression and see how they are linked together. Then, we use our understanding as a lever for challenging illegitimate systems of power everywhere.

Explicitly, a radically inclusive feminism calls us to join with intersectional #BlackFeminist initiatives directed against White supremacy and to support indigenous feminisms addressing settler colonialism and promoting sovereignty.

This feminism is transformational because it focuses not on getting women and females evenly distributed in the current system but rather on changing those systems altogether. Feminism is not just about analyzing problems and opposing oppression; it’s also about envisioning and enacting the future we want to see. We should work to create systems that move us towards a world where all people can flourish.

Finally, this collective, inclusive, and transformational feminism advocates for changes specifically in the worlds of business, organization, and work. I believe that businesses can be sites of social change and social justice, if we choose to make them so. With my work on feminist business practice, I challenge systems of oppression as they are made manifest in our work, our organizations, and in the economy.

 

The feminism I aim to practice is radically inclusive, collective, expansive, multi-dimensional, and generative. I focus on ending discrimination, achieving equality, and creating a world where all living things can flourish, by working to transform businesses, organizations, and work.

 

There is so much more to say about feminism (beyond the 500 words, above) that I wrote an entire book about it. Please check it out, as well as my other writings here on cvharquail.com, for a full picture of the feminism I advocate and how I apply it to business and enterprise.

To be clear:  Not only are there many ways to define feminism, there are also many ways that feminism is defined incorrectly. Yes, there are incorrect definitions of feminism. Just because someone says their view is feminist, or just because that view is held by a woman exercising her own ‘choices’, not everything is feminism. There’s a long history of activists and scholars defining what feminism is and isn’t, and this long history is a topic for another post.