Feminist Reading List
88% – 100% of books part of recommended reading lists in Austrian schools are written by “old white men”. Feminist narratives are hardly represented there. Schools being some of the most important sites of socialization (both in terms of reading socialization and socialization through reading)—reading recommendations for schools must be revised!
Therefore, ≠igfem is collaborating with a group of female authors, literary critics, historians, educational scientists, publishers, booksellers, and teachers to create a feminist reading list for German classes. Our goal is to produce a list that showcases both female and male role models, represents women and feminist history. Once finalized, the list will be submitted to the Ministry of Education and will be shared with schools.
At ≠igfem, we regularly write open letters to advocate feminist concerns. We aim to mobilize the general public by raising awareness about gender-based inequality, particularly in the literary field. For example, we recently wrote an open letter to the Austrian Minister for Women, demanding more measures to prevent femicides.
#MeToo Working Group
Statistics show that one in five women in Austria experiences physical and/or sexual violence within her lifetime, while one in three has to deal with sexual harassment. In 2021, 29 women were murdered by (former) partners or family members in Austria. In 2022, crime statistics reported 39 victims of femicide, making Austria the only EU member where more women are murdered than men, annually.
Although the numbers are alarming, patriarchal violence is still not discussed adequately in public discourse. The Austrian government lacks concrete measures to protect women and girls. As a group of feminist authors, we are working on a guide to prevent and handle (sexualized) violence and abuse of power within literary organizations. Our goal is to establish a supportive platform for women affected by this issue, particularly within the literary community.
Female perspectives are underrepresented in public discourse. Literature that sheds light on female interests and themes can address this issue. Discrediting female perspectives and stereotypical depictions of women contribute to misogyny. This can lead to verbal and physical violence against women.
On the other hand, literature can empower women to share their stories and challenge patriarchal norms. To prevent violence against women, we must use language that acknowledges women’s realities one that demands equality, rather than one that blindly perpetuates patriarchal narratives. This is crucial to create a safe and equal society for all.
Toward this end, it is necessary to include feminist approaches to literature, politics, and public interaction. Our organization, ≠igfem, supports female writers and their endeavors. We aim to combat the inequality that women face in the literary field and to bring attention to it. To facilitate this we use public relations, communicate with relevant parties, and connect female authors on national and international levels through writing and reading groups, workshops, and other initiatives.