One of the topics we are studying in Taiwan is how women business owners relate to feminism. In a presentation of our preliminary research findings to students at Tunghai University, the Chatham students discussed the definitions of feminism–both the Taiwanese women business owners’ definitions and their own understanding of the term. The most straight forward definition of feminism is a belief in the equality of women and men and that women have the same opportunities as men to make choices. The Chatham students also said that feminism includes a realization of the social construction of gender roles and the intersection of gender, race, and class. Feminism is concerned about more than individual choices available to women but also the social and political context of decision-making.
While we have been here in Taiwan, the killings at Isla Vista, California have generated a conversation about violence against women. YesAllWomen is a Twitter hashtag where women share their experience of sexual violence. It started on May 24 the day after the Isa Vista killings because the writings of the killer advocated violence against women because of their sex. Charles M. Blow, New York Times columnist, wrote a column, Yes, All Men (June 2, 2014), to argue that men need to become part of the conversation about violence against women. He said the responsibility for deterring violence cannot be left to women. Ashley Henry showed one of our Taiwan business owners, a favorite TED talk: Jackson Katz on Violence Against Women–It’s a Men’s Issue (filmed November 2012). Katz claims that domestic violence and sexual abuse should not be defined as women’s issues to be addressed by women alone. Men cannot be bystanders to this issue. The Blow column began and ended with a statement from his college age son: “I believe it is very important for everyone to be a feminist.”