What is feminism?

Feminism is a term that unites various, manifold and often contradicting concepts, strategies and movements. Frequently, this leads the term to be used in its plural form: feminisms. Feminism is an enlightening and critical theory, as much as a global political movement with a tradition spanning over 200 years.

‘Feminism is partisan. Despite its large number of constituent concepts and its contradictions, it remains a voice for the rights of women which articulates female interests and demands recognition. The utopian goal of feminism is the radical transformation of hierarchical gender relations. In the view of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, as we are still confronted with hegemonic masculinity, this issue is far from becoming a thing of the past.’ Barbara Unmüßig, president of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, quoted in: Gender Politics Makes a Difference.

Background information

Feminist Traditions | History

Where does feminism come from? This article describes in brief the developement of feminism, starting in 1791, during the French Enlightenment, when Olympe de Gouges demanded human rights and civil rights for women. At this point they were still only granted to men. Later in the 19th and 20th century, similar early feminist ideas inspired women’s movements in numerous countries to push for the right to education, paid employment, and social equality.

Feminism at the Heinrich Böll Foundation

Feminist policies have a long and diverse tradition at the Heinrich Böll Foundation. This is also clear from the foundation's history. The Heinrich Böll Foundation emerged out of the unification of three organisations: a feminist foundation called FrauenAnstiftung, Länderstiftungen Buntstift e.V. which was linked to the green party, and the original Heinrich Böll Foundation from Cologne which was responsible for managing Heinrich Böll’s estate.


Media Analysis: Public Television Coverage of the Cologne New Year's Eve 2015/16

The 2015/16 New Year’s Eve night in Cologne has had far-reaching consequences. In Germany, the sexual attacks on women were considered by the majority of people to be proof of the fact that the country’s open-arms culture, which had commenced in summer, had either come to an end or was even viewed as being erroneous overall.

By Dr. Ines Kappert

Let’s hear it for fringe sports

Game over. The Rio Olympics gave us many things: sexist reporting, burkinis and bikinis, forced outings. But it was above all a celebration of the fringiest of the fringe – here’s a recap from a queer feminist perspective.

By Susanne Diehr, Azada Hassany
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