Although Strauss-Kahn’s arrest for rape charges have undoubtedly caused quite a reaction all over, one particularly noteworthy area of development is the crescendo of voices speaking against the discrimination of women–especially from minority groups or lower socio-economic class–in France. From the International Herald Tribune piece on the matter:
The case has also sharpened the debate here about a French way of life, one of tolerance for a male-centric attitude in gender relations, an acceptance of all but the most egregious sexual assaults on women and a reluctance by the authorities to intervene, particularly in cases involving the powerful.
“This is a key moment, a watershed moment,” said Anne-Elisabeth Moutet, an analyst of French politics and culture.Women from across the political spectrum “have extremely unpleasant stories to tell, that men think women are all up for grabs, literally and figuratively,” she said. France is “a difficult country to budge,” she added. “But it’s an important step. Women are emboldened.”
The Global Policy Forum also investigates the matter more throughly with a short historical analysis of institutional discrimination of the IMF against women since WWII till today.
While the media dissects the attempted rape of a young African woman and begins to dig out more information about Strauss-Kahn’s past indiscretions, we couldn’t help but see this situation through the feminist lens of the “personal is political.”
For many in the developing world, the IMF and its draconian policies of structural adjustment have systematically “raped” the earth and the poor and violated the human rights of women. It appears that the personal disregard and disrespect for women demonstrated by the man at the highest levels of leadership within the IMF is quite consistent with the gender bias inherent in the IMF’s institutional policies and practice.
What is your reaction to the arrest of Mr. Strauss-Khan?
What impacts will it possibly have on the issue on gender equality? Why?
What has been the role of the media in this episode? Do you think it has affected how we perceive the case?