Conference – Where are we now? A workshop on women & heterosexuality (London)

Where are we now? A workshop on women & heterosexuality

Thu 5 – Fri 6 March 2009

at the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies

Stewart House, 32 Russell Square WC1B 5DN

organised by Naomi Segal and Rachel Segal Hamilton

In 1949 Simone de Beauvoir began The Second Sex with the words ‘Enough
ink has been spilled over the quarrel of feminism; it’s pretty much
closed now – let us say no more about it’. Sixty years later, the
quarrel continues. A spirit of optimism and activism reigned for women
born around 1950 and entering maturity together with the feminist
movement in 1969. Where are those women now and where are the
generations of women that have followed?

a.       Much is heard of post-feminism, the idea that the issues of the
1970s have been superseded – is this so?

b.       What do the women now in their 20s and 30s think about the idea
of sexual politics: is equality taken for granted or still only
partially achieved?

c.       In particular, what has happened to the hopes of equality with
men in the couple-bond: have men proved willing to share both work and
love in a domestic context?

d.       If they have not, what might the reasons be, and where do we go
from here?

To return to Beauvoir: Is it as true it was sixty years ago that ‘The
word love has a completely different meaning for the two sexes, and this
is one source of the serious misunderstandings that divide them’?

This women’s workshop, limited to 80 participants from the UK and
Europe, will examine the above questions in a set of ‘age-bands’ (those
in their 60s, 50s, 40s, 30s and 20s). There will be no formal papers.
Instead, in each of five plenary sessions, two women from one age-band
will present a brief summary of their views on the above questions, then
one from each of the others will act as respondent. In addition, smaller
break-out groups will take up the issues and report back on their
discussion to the whole Workshop. You are welcome to join this debate,
as either speaker, respondent or participant in the general discussion.

If you wish to be either a speaker or a respondent, please send 500-1000
words setting out your views on the above issues and stating your
age-band as in March 2009 by 5 pm on 31 October 2008 to

Naomi Segal, Director, Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies: <>

A programme of speakers/respondents will be selected by 1 December 2008.



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