Equality, freedom and solidarity are the cornerstones of a feminist vision of society. They guarantee a just and inclusive society, in which there is no room for discrimination and exclusion. Reality in our country and worldwide shows that these principles are constantly being violated.
Take, for example, the (imminent implementation of) new priority rules in childcare. These rules create additional barriers, causing increasingly larger groups of mothers (and fathers) to be left out. Of professionally active women, 41 percent work part-time. Often because of care, but also because part-time contracts are standard in sectors such as healthcare, retail, cleaning, etc. They will no longer be eligible. Not even if they are a single parent.
In the housing market we see how policies favor certain groups, such as cohabitants and buyers, while others, such as renters, singles and single-parent families, receive little or no support. Discriminatory conditions were added to the right to social housing: register yourself with the VDAB and achieve a sufficient level of Dutch. Waiting lists in more and more government facilities show how our welfare state is being phased out and undermining the principle of solidarity. Caring for everyone is at stake.
The 52nd Day of Feminism connects the themes of housing, relationships and decisions about children. These issues are more deeply intertwined than we often realize. As Audre Lorde says, “There is no such thing as a fight over a single issue, because we don’t live lives limited to a single issue.”
The housing crisis not only testifies to growing social and racial inequality, it is also not unrelated to discussions about the abolition of the marriage quotient or the increase in the number of single people. Women’s testimonies about a sharp increase in conflict between their work and private lives are intertwined with their living and family situations. The recognition of same-sex marriage has led to the establishment of equal rights for LGBT+ couples, allowing them, for example, to share property, file joint tax returns and take legal parental responsibility.
Our choices, or rather options, in one domain often influence what is possible, desirable or feasible in other domains. This is determined not only by personal preferences and practical considerations, but also by socio-cultural norms and broader societal structures. Moreover, policy measures have real consequences for freedom of choice and financial implications.
It is the government’s task to, on the one hand, develop a policy that avoids exclusion, preferably proactively (for example by expanding circumstance leave to other recognized philosophies and adapt it to various relationship and family forms) and, on the other hand, to implement a policy that actively tackles exclusion (such as tackling discrimination in the housing market, which surfaces in every practical test).
It requires a good dose of creativity to come up with innovative solutions for the diversity of relationships and cohabitation today and for increasing social justice and care.
In this way, affordable alternative housing options can provide an answer to the specific challenges that single mothers face in the traditional housing market, such as finding affordable housing near schools and childcare. Moreover, such alternatives can help to increase sharing of care because they often emphasize shared spaces and community building. These alternatives thus join a feminist tradition that wants to break the strict division between public and private space and focuses on collective answers and solutions.
Feminist perspectives provide tools to come up with concrete solutions that benefit everyone, nationally and internationally. We stand in solidarity worldwide with everyone who is oppressed. That is why we join a feminism for the 99 percent. In particular, we express our support for the Palestinian people and stand in solidarity with the global demonstrations taking place worldwide today to demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. We continue to intervene in the social debate, including on this Feminism Day. Not just for today, but also for tomorrow.
November 11 Feminism Day
On November 11, Furia organizes the 52nd Day of Feminism (previously National Women’s Day). Since 1972, this has been the permanent appointment for all those who are looking forward to exchange, inspiration and meeting about gender equality. Feminism Day is a day to share experiences and dreams and to nourish mutual solidarity and struggle. Between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. you can immerse yourself in polyphonic and vibrant feminism in De Centrale in Ghent. You can download the full program booklet at the bottom of this page!
The themes of this Day of Feminism are the norm of the nuclear family, the real and desired other relationship and living arrangements and the questions that young adults ask themselves about whether or not they want children in the current context. We also provide a safe space for single parents to formulate actions on their shared needs.
The day starts with Rebellious Relationships. Rahil Roodsaz researches constructions of love and intimacy in monogamous and non-monogamous relationships in Dutch society, at the University of Amsterdam. She is interviewed by Heleen Debruyne about her research and the book Intimate Revolutions that she co-edited.
In the afternoon, the feminist Magdalena Collective of KASK students will talk to visitors about their relationship(s). Throughout the day, visitors can listen to testimonies in the Dance Hall of De Centrale.
In the afternoon we will investigate with a panel and with the visitors of Feminism Day what ‘good living’ means. But above all, how do we realize this for everyone? We unravel exclusion mechanisms, share inspiring examples and dream about a gender-sensitive approach to housing and living environment. Soumaya Majdoub (Women in Urbanism), Maggi Poppe (Women’s Council), Joy Verstichele (Flemish Tenants’ Platform) and a representative of Wooncoop will discuss with each other and with the public.
With their production Blik VOoruit, cirQ vzw probes visitors’ radical dreams throughout the afternoon.
Furia young people are looking for how people chose or did not choose to have children and what their lives look like after the conscious or unconscious choice. Visitors can also listen to the stories they collect in the Dance Hall. In the Femi Filocafé Kindertwijfels, visitors can share their questions and choose a question to continue with.
We put together a package of requirements with Furia vzw, which we presented just after the key note.
The specific program with speakers, panelists, artists and timing can be found here.
We would like to invite you to De Centrale on Saturday, November 11, 2023. On the day itself, we will send out a press release with photos just after noon. The vision text and the requirements package are also included.
The keynote lecture will be streamed on our Facebook page.
Furia is a feminist think tank and action group that strives for a supportive and more equal society. Furia links critical reflection to concrete action and strives for a supportive and inclusive society without inequality and discrimination. Furia starts from the real lives of people and incorporates the perspectives of as many women/women/x as possible in its analyzes and actions. More information: www.furiavzw.be