What is your feminism about? – First days of Feminist Futures Hackathon


In recent months I have developed the approach to say “yes” to whatever opportunity crosses my path. As a person, I am quite the opposite: cautious, considering pros and cons, but also often jealous towards people who jump into different activities without hesitations. Sometimes they regret it. Sometimes they experience inspirational and fruitful moments. My attendance at Feminist Futures Hackathon in Helsinki is the second option.

I am happy I said “yes” without considering if I have enough time or knowledge for participation. I am there,  challenging myself with new technologies, collaborations and topics. I would not lie, it’s intense. It is probably one of the most feverish exploring and learning processes I came through in recent years…

What crossed my mind the very first days of Hackathon was an idea of one of my coworkers during the introduction; when we wanted to get to know each other better. She asked us to say how we became feminists. There were particular events and life experiences mentioned, but honestly, I don’t remember how I have become a feminist…

Most probably it has always been part of my life standpoint. As I believe it is not a coincidence that I had studied social work. The belief in social justice and equality was somehow present during my whole life, that I can remember. Maybe it has something to do also with the fact that gender roles between my parents were not so strictly divided. 

My father and my mother, both did what needed to be done. Cooking, shopping, washing the dishes, cleaning the apartments, going to the school for parental meetings, moving the furniture, decorating walls… It had worked in a way where whoever had time, he/she did it. Fewer restrictions, less pressure, tasks divided mostly based on free time and will. Acknowledging such equality when it comes to gender roles was a natural basis for my feminism. But at that time, I was still blind to discrimination based on other social categories.

At the beginning of 90-ties was established Aspekt, the first feministic organisation in my home country. They have translated and published a lot of feministic literature and I became their regular reader. Topics such as violence on women, female sexuality or representation of women were particularly touchy and inspirational.   

Feminisms since then have grown up into dimensions that I can’t follow, even if I find them super interesting. Topics like feminist city planning, the environmental changes and their impact on the life of women and marginalised communities, female perspectives on artificial intelligence and so on are just the peak of the iceberg. And some of these issues are being addressed also during the Feminist Futures Hackathon

But my ideals were also shaken. I recall how I met some other women who identified themselves as feminists, but their opinions and actions were somehow contradictory to mine. I thought, we feminists are supposed to have the same opinions, ways of thinking or the unified world’s vision. I had my doubts. If they are feminists and if this is what feminism is about, maybe I am not one of them at all…   

Nowadays, knowing a bit more about some of the feminist theories, I understand I was wrong. It’s vital to have our differences because this is also something that pushes us forward in our search for a more inclusive and equal society. If I have to choose, I identify myself mostly with postmodern social work theories and I accept multiple truths, roles and realities that coexist together. My feminism is about believing in social justice, social solidarity and social responsibility. It’s about taking care of people, being humble, trying to understand deeper meanings, encouragement, connection and belonging. Surprisingly, these are also qualities and values of a good social worker, don’t they?

Coming back to the question when I have started to be a feminist, I can only paraphrase Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and her famous TEDx speech “We should all be feminists”: I was one before I even knew the name for it. I had believed in social, economic, and political equality between people before I really realised what they all mean. Chimamanda also said, that not people are made by culture, but culture is made by people. 

This Hackathon will not change the culture, but it can be one piece of the puzzle… Occassion during which discussions and discourses will move in different feminist directions, whatever feminism means for each of us…

P.S.: Feminist Futures Hackathon will last till 31st of May 2021 and there are events available also for public. You are welcome to join and I will try to write occasionally my thoughts from the process of discovering feminisms for me once and again 🙂

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