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Goodbye to all that

A recent collection of essays, edited by Natasha Walter, claimed that feminism is still relevant to young women. Anne Applebaum's essay was commissioned for the collection, but then excluded as "too negative." She argues that the battle for legal equality has been won, and that we should now focus on some of its unwanted consequences

By Anne Applebaum   May 1999

For me, the final straw was Huairou. Not everyone will remember Huairou, but some of us will never forget it. Huairou was the Chinese village which in 1995 was transformed for a few days into a sea of tents, huts, makeshift wooden walkways and mud, when more than 20,000 women from around the world met there for the UN’s fourth world conference on women.

For sheer colour, the occasion was not to be missed. Saudi women covered in black jostled with American feminists wearing “Why have sex when you can have gender?” T-shirts. Workshops on “stereotyping and sexism in advertising”…

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