New York, 24 March – IDA Virtual attendance, Cecilia Olivero. Several – and quite different – countries investigated on the impact of the #MeToo movement: Egypt, Denmark and Kenya. Egypt has been strongly impacted by the international #MeToo campaign, where women started to use storytelling in order to address the issue, leading to knowing and sharing the name of the perpetrators (roughly until 2020).
The #MeToo movement in Denmark did strike as well, in different contexts: The development of the #MeToo movement: primarily been covered by gossip and celebrities’ sections as well as opinion pieces, instead of being taken seriously – described as ‘witch hunt’/women should tolerate more/sympathy for men/assault self-inflicted. A comparison between Sweden and Denmark, where Sweden embraced feminism more. But they also saw a second wave, from #MeToo to #OneofUs. #MeToo in media, politics and academia and how it links to women’s full and effective participation in public life: ‘The idea of Denmark as a Gender Paradise Is a Myth’.
Gender representation at Danish Universities: women are ‘deviants’ in the local research environment as an individualistic and competitive culture. Men are seen as confident, competitive and with leading attitudes whereas women are less of ‘everything’.
In the Top 50 list of most cited expert sources in Danish media in 2020 only 6 were women. For what concerns political parties: 32.84% local politicians are women, 39.1% parliamentary politicians are women, and 14 out of 98 mayors are women. But here we can see differences in the ministries! Men mainly lead finances, taxes, energy, labor market, security, etc., whereas women are present more in social policies, caring positions, etc. However, there have been reactions of the first and second wave of #MeToo such as recognition, surveys and investigations, tripartite negotiations on sexual harassment and sexism, modest law changes (i.e., higher compensation), consent law/psychological violence, campaigns and awareness raising. In Kenya (and West Africa) the concept of sexual violence and the #MeToo campaign actually started appearing around 1997, when the conversation around the purpose of ending the rape culture developed. This meeting has been relevant on the idea of comparing the same topic between three quite different realities, where the expectations have been overturned: probably, no one would imagine Denmark to be challenged by Kenya and Egypt for what concerns equality or activism for human rights. Here, the idea of Western countries ‘more developed’ might be dismantled by the unexpected willingness and strength of ideas and purposes brought on by countries that we might consider really far away from ourselves in terms of cultures and ideologies.