2009 marks the sixtieth anniversary of the publication of Simone de Beauvoir’s ground-breaking book ‘The Second Sex’ in which she asked the question ‘what is a woman?’. To celebrate International Women’s Day 2009 and the anniversary of the book’s publication, Scottish Women’s Aid is asking what it means to be a woman in 2009. We plan to create an interactive ‘virtual exhibition’ operated through our web-site, gathering answers from women as well as public figures.
Beauvoir drew on biology, history, philosophy and anthropology to conclude that during her own time, and previous to it, woman was ‘Other’ to the normal male human being, the second sex, discriminated against, objectified, less valued. ‘Woman’ she also decided is neither a fixed entity nor intrinsic to the female human being but created by society and is an identity that shifts with time and culture. In other words, in the words of the book’s most famous line ‘one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman’.
The book inspired and motivated a generation to agitate for change. Indeed much has changed since Beauvoir wrote: anti-discrimination legislation has been passed, there are more career and education opportunities for woman etc. But much still needs to change: the pay gap still exists and women continue to experience violence in the form of domestic abuse, rape and trafficking in large numbers.
We would be enormously pleased if you and your group were to support this by answering the question ‘what is a woman in 2009’, providing a short quote, poem or doodle and if possible a photograph to go along with this. You can email us your contributions or join our facebook page “Scottish women’s aid”
I have attached an info rmation sheet on The Second Sex for your info rmation.
Administration Information Worker
Scottish Women’s Aid
2nd Floor 132 Rose Street
0131 226 6606
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