The dominance of the liberal approach

Latvia there is something to be proud of in the field of equality, at least according to statistics. In the global gender equality index shows that Latvia is relatively high 15 of the 142 countries. Latvian women in General have a higher level of education than men and well integrated into the labour market. Recently Latvia has surprised the whole of Europe, when it became clear that the boards of large companies operate about 36% of women — the indicator of the level of Scandinavia and France. A good practice of implementation of principles of gender equality in Latvia is to increase the number of women entrepreneurs and politicians. Of course, for society to be equitable, it is necessary to eliminate any obstacles in the way of people to their chosen activity, and the fact that in Latvia, a woman can occupy the highest place in the nation — plus, not a minus. However, liberal feminism reflects only the legal aspect of equality. If the law is not discriminary woman, so everything is in order. However, there are other areas of feminism, which is noticeably missing in Latvia.

Feminism, which takes into account social inequalities, would be much more appropriate for Latvian women. Such a feminism would help to achieve not only formal equality, but would have been helpful in bridging the gap between the privileged elite and the rest of society. Dominant in Latvia right ideology unfriendly the most part of Latvians and praise successful men and women combined with blatant contempt for people with "Soviet mentality". However, unlike Latvia, in Europe a serious conversation about social inequality is not considered ridiculous. Constantly declaring their commitment to European values, Latvia could introduce these values really. Required Latvia feminism is not a struggle for access to the ruling class, and the analysis of inequality with a gender aspect.

The fight against "genderism"

The word "gender" became almost abusive. Often it is used to intimidate the Latvians horrors allegedly perpetrated in Western Europe, arguing that gender is the ability to choose your gender. In fact gender is a construction, associated primarily with socialization. People are born, endowed with biological characteristics of the floor, and grows, realizing what it means to be male or female in a particular society. The revolutionary significance of gender theory in that it debunked the millennial myth about human nature and proved that the roles that you play in society, men and women, not set by nature, not permanent and not eternal. The concept of gender was allowed to finally understand that the reason for the oppression of women — not in their defective nature, and in the social order, which can be changed. Unfortunately, in Latvia the term "gender" overgrown with myths and outright lies, and talk about women, about gender inequality, about feminism, not using one of the Central concepts of modern sociological theories, impossible.

The lack of information space

Latvian public environment provides not so many opportunities for free discussion of women's situation in non-conservative and non-glamorous way. When information about the society in which we live, inaccessible or minimally represented, Willy nilly, begin to look for other sources. Often in a large number of other countries — for example, in Russia, despite the neoconservative and the religious turn in recent years, there is quite a lot of materials on the status of women, Patriarchy, and feminism. Clear language and broadly similar social and cultural situation, ease of access — all this makes Russian interesting material for Latvian women. The same can be said about websites, public lectures, articles in English. However, such a shift to foreign materials in danger of misunderstanding, and sometimes misrepresentation of the Latvian women's reality. Statistics, social programs, the laws of other countries only partially similar to the Latvian, and it is impossible to claim that Latvia is facing the same discrimination that the Russian woman, although the social conditions and the dominant gender ideology can be similar.

The Latvian information space offers only numbers, which must find in the depths of the Statistics and a summary of the article, often leading to March 8 or 23 of November (November 23 notes International day for the elimination of violence against women). However, in order to make the situation in which women live, visible, you must talk about it regularly. Moreover, you need to make this bilingual conversation. Russian-speaking Latvians, and so are often excluded from the socio-cultural processes in the Latvian environment. To talk about feminism only in Latvian or in Russian — it means to follow the principle of "equality for their".


Maria Assurexia - researcher of oral history, the author of the international blog European Young Feminists.