The world is full of urgent global challenges. From climate change to trade disputes, to humanitarian crises and faltering alliances, the 21st century's second decade has witnessed an assault on many of the long-held orthodoxies of international relations. Nevertheless, the Editorial Board of the Journal of International Affairs believes that the topic chosen for this issue is as important, and as timely, as any.
From the MeToo Movement and worldwide women's marches, to #Balancetonporc and #tystnadtagning, feminism has surged into the public discourse like never before. These developments have catalyzed new, often bitter debates on important topics, including women's rights, the gender pay gap, women's involvement in politics and the workplace, and gender-based violence. On many of these issues progress remains uncertain: a resurgent activism emerges hand-in-hand with the forces of reaction. Whatever side one takes, there is no denying that feminism finds itself at the center of today's most important public policy debates. At last, feminism has truly gone global.
Unfortunately, the international affairs and public policy fields have failed to dedicate sufficient attention to feminist politics and political movements. This failure is endemic, found everywhere from academia to think tanks and international organizations. Feminist IR theory, when taught, is often an afterthought, while feminist paradigms have not yet cracked the academic mainstream in universities across the world. With this issue on the Dynamics of Global Feminism, the Journal of International Affairs has chosen to dedicate its voice to filling that gap.
The Dynamics of Global Feminism asks its contributors a series of questions. Is there one "Global Feminism," or several? Why have some feminist movements been successful while others have failed? How have globalization, the rise of populism, and the emergence of new technologies affected both the form and substance of feminism? What have past movements gotten wrong, or right, and how can feminism contribute to building a better world?
Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee, our keynote, opens the issue. She shares her remarkable experience in the peace movement in Liberia. Ms. Gbowee demonstrates the immense potential of women's activism but cautions that a local approach to female organizing is essential to its success.
Dynamics of Global Feminism then applies an international lens to feminism. Columbia's Yasmine Ergas begins...