Why I call myself a feminist - part I It’s been over a year since I took on the role of leading and developing the Feminism for Change course at Foundation for Change. First of all, the job title itself of ‘Feminist Lead’ made me feel a bit uncomfortable…"What shall I tell people I do for a living?" I thought to myself. I couldn’t really understand what gave me this uncomfortable feeling about the word ‘feminism’ but, before I got started establishing a group of women I’d be working with on the course, I knew I needed to investigate it. I knew the basics - that feminism was about “equality” - but I never really understood what that meant on a personal level. Was it for me? Did it even affect me? I couldn’t see where or how or if I fit in. My investigation took me to look through the history of feminism, which I needed to do to prepare for the first day of the course. That process led me to consider all sorts of things I either do or come across every day as a woman without a second thought. Reflecting on these everyday experiences I realised that so many of them happen because I am a woman– because certain things are expected of me, because unfortunately it’s the norm… Things like the “triple shift” - the unpaid labour like house work and child care as well as being a primary caregiver, and the emotional labour we as women are just expected to take on. As well as all these roles we’re expected to adopt certain characteristics – seemingly small things, but this is how we are told we ought to be: ‘submissive’, ‘caring’, ‘nurturing’, running around after everybody and ‘doing, doing, doing’…No wonder we get lost. No wonder it’s easy to feel blamed and judged by a society for not living up to these standards. No wonder we feel not good enough if we don’t fit in with these norms. No wonder this leads to unbearably low self worth and feelings of guilt and shame. I’d been duped into thinking feminism wasn’t for me, that I didn’t fit in, but my investigation uncovered that it was feminism that had been missing for me, as a woman: to have the chance to hear about, understand and connect with women’s struggles – often hidden struggles because we’re scared at being judged by a patriarchal society that bellows out these rules of the sexes that we’re all expected to conform to. By the time I had explored this history and all the ideas that make up the course, I was more than ready to call myself a feminist.