An analysis of the current state of feminism and the challenges it faces in a rapidly changing world
Feminism in the 21st century is a complex and multifaceted concept. It has come a long way since its beginnings as a grassroots movement for women’s rights, but it still faces numerous challenges in an increasingly interconnected world. With the advent of social media and new technologies such as artificial intelligence, gender equality, and representation have become even more pressing issues, while traditional power structures remain largely intact. This article contains the voices of some powerful women in business who explore some of the key issues surrounding feminism in the 21st century, from intersectionality to global activism, and consider how we can move forward toward true gender parity.
Dr. Kara Nance, Communication and Relational Coach at KaraNanceMD, medical doctor/CEO of WellessenceMD, physician, and entrepreneur, explains modern feminism in her own words. “Mainstream feminism has not always been inclusive. The first wave, led by suffragettes, focused on white women and the right to vote, with black suffragists being erased from history. The second wave in the 1970s that again charted new social territory still failed to include transgender people and did not prioritize racial equity. Modern feminism understands how the issues of gender, race, and sexuality are all interconnected. We must acknowledge pay inequality and the major economic hit women take when they step away or adjust their career goals to care for their families. We also need to address gender-based health care inaccessibility, rigid social expectations, and gender-based violence which still impact people everywhere to this day. In the words of Emma Lazarus, “Until we are all free, we are none of us free.” Modern feminism includes the tired, the poor, the homeless, and “the tempest-tost” regardless of what gender they identify with.”
Modern feminism is multi-faceted. Stephanie Jaie, author, speaker, and Somatic Sexologist explains, “Modern feminism is the opportunity to be, do, and have everything we desire – to be in our masculine act of doing, achieving and striving; while also feeling safe enough to embody our feminine energies. Allow ourselves to relax, receive, and be in our sensuality. To recognize that when we evolve beyond comparison and into our own innate, unique potential, we can create lives and impact far greater than we’d dreamed. Modern feminism is an invitation to evolve beyond the equalization of men into a more refined potential that honors our ability to achieve balance within our capacity to receive.”
“After decades of the pendulum swinging from extreme to extreme, modern feminism, in my opinion, is moving toward balance where we recognize the value of our genders and embrace differences,” shares Merina Ty-Kisera, CEO of Merina Wellness and Touching Spirit, LLC. “I feel that women still face the challenges of overcoming the old paradigm and media messages that came from that. It’s time for us to break free from our old mindset and release the conditioning of centuries past. Not an easy task, but I feel women have the power of the collective to move towards equality in a powerful way, fuelled by our hearts, not our egos.”
Hanalei Swan, a sixteen-year-old fashion designer, artist, model, international speaker, and bestselling author, shares, “By lifting each other up and empowering other women, I believe we can defy the expectations society has put in place for us. When I was younger, hearing that I was strong and capable from someone inspired me to continue taking action on my dreams, even when I felt insecure. If we can be the light for other women, I believe we can create a ripple effect and push past the barriers and rules we’ve been told to follow all our lives. If we do not stand up for the change we wish to see, who will? If we want to make a difference, we need to lead by example.”
“Everything starts with our inner work; this is a beautiful thing because we are not depending on government changes, societal improvements, and so on,” reflects Stefanie Bruns, quantum psychologist, business mentor, and CEO of BusinessFlowAcademy. “Imagine how enlightening it would be if you shifted your perception to possibilities, did inner work, and faced your own shadow to heal. Every time we get triggered by a person, a law, a habit, or a situation in general, we can reframe it as an invitation to heal. You have the power to shift from the actual situation to the world you want to manifest. Energy is the currency of the soul.”
Although there has been much progress in recent years, there is still much work to be done if we are to create an equal and equitable society for all genders. To do this, feminists must continue to strive for intersectionality and global solidarity while challenging the power structures that stand in their way. Only then can we hope to usher in a truly harmonious world.