Exploring Karls: Feminism with Professor Dr. Ella Roininen

What are 8 letters that together form a word that is as popular as it is unpopular, as loved as it is hated, and as demonized as celebrated? Well… If you haven’t guessed by the title of this blog post, I will give you a clue. It starts with “Femi-”. It ends in “-nism”. (if you find any other, please feel free to comment down)

Now… Let’s get serious.
Feminism is not men vs. women, or women hating men, nor the antagonization of men neither the victimization of women. Feminism is the acknowledgement that there are unequal power relations in the world that work for the benefit of one group and, sadly, to the detriment of another. Professor Roininen elaborates on what postmodern feminism focuses on as she states: “we study social processes and power relations leading to inequality. Not only gender inequality but also intersectional inequality. We try to understand and challenge power relations from an individual and a societal point of view”. History has shown us the vitality of social movements in order to ignite change in our society. Feminism, as Professor Roininen stated during her talk at the monthly Karlsgespraech, “is also about social change”. Whether you love it, hate it or just don’t care about it, Feminism has had a clear and significant impact on women’s rights across the world. From having the right to vote, to own property, to also sexual and reproductive rights.

So… if women’s right have progressed this far, why should we all be feminist? Is there even a need in today’s world? Or has feminism reached its goals and should die off?The answer: Prof. Dr. Ella Roininen argues that “If you feel there is anything wrong in this world, and if you feel you would like to do something about it, then feminism is still important”. The relevance of this social movement has not declined but instead it has enlarged. As per the definition given above, feminism embraces not only women’s struggle but everyone’s struggles and as long as we try to understand and challenge all unequal destructive power relations premises, feminism will still be relevant. Prof. Dr. Roininen stated in an interview that “we are not in the world to just consume and on a picnic but we are here to contribute. One way to contribute is by advocating for feminism”. Dr. Roininen specifies that we can be feminist advocates even by using our own voices, knowing that we belong as much as anyone else, and that we all have the same right to bring about the best in ourselves. Lastly, Professor Roininen concludes with “what is the purpose of your unique voice if you’re not using it for what matters to you” with that said, “choose your battle as there is enough for
everyone”. So… are you a feminist?

Want to know more about feminism? Check out Prof. Roininen’s full talk:

Professor Ella Roininen first started her journey at Karlshochschule lecturing for the Masters program on diversity and organisational cultures as well as diversity and leadership. She has taken on a professorship and is now the diversity manager at Karls. “Performing this role signifies making sure that diversity and inclusion are happening here by having a direct contact with students and encouraging conversation on this topics on individual and broader spaces as well as with the faculty” says Professor Roininen on her new role as diversity manager. However, her life journey extends further than the Karls. She has worked at IBM as a global manager and lived in more than 5 different countries experiencing the diverse reality of women’s rights across the world, from India and Spain to Switzerland and Finland. Dr. Roininen states that “feminism is self reflection, awareness, and empowerment” and “we should all be feminists”.

Article by Helen Ramos *HR (KarlsStorytellers)
Video by Bennet Niemann *BN (KarlsStorytellers)

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