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Feminism there. Pretty frickin’ crucial and transformative, whether you like it or not. Some top points here: piece by Joan Smith on the Independent. (No, of course you shouldn’t read BTL. Rookie mistake.)

In 1997, when I began writing a weekly column for The Independent on Sunday, Labour had just won a landslide election victory. I wasn’t a fan of Tony Blair, an antipathy that appeared to be reciprocated when I turned up at a party at No 10 a few years later, but Labour’s success changed the appearance of the House of Commons out of all recognition. There were suddenly 120 female MPs in the lower chamber and the vast majority (101, to be exact) belonged to the Labour Party.That was still less than a fifth of the House, but back in 1979, when Margaret Thatcher became the country’s first female prime minister, the figure was only 3 per cent. Labour’s 1997 intake was patronised as “Blair’s Babes” but it began to feel normal to see MPs who weren’t men in suits speaking about matters which affected half the population. If progress since then sometimes seems painfully slow, last year’s general election lifted the proportion of women MPs to a record 29 per cent, thanks in part to the success of the SNP.

From the pink Labour bus to small Saudi victories: feminism in 2015

See also: Feminism isn’t just a fad – and that’s why so many anti-feminists are angry

It’s essential to record these milestones because the world in 2016 sometimes appears to be a very dark place, and especially so for women. The late 1990s, when Sex and the City sparked conversations about everything from the pleasure of sex to coping with sexually transmitted diseases, now feels like a lost moment of innocence. Who would have predicted, watching Carrie Bradshaw and her friends roam New York in four-inch heels, that a whole series of terrorist organisations was about to emerge, incubating a pathological loathing of women?I knew that Japanese soldiers had forced thousands of foreign women to work in military brothels during the Second World War, but I didn’t expect to see sexual slavery being practised in my lifetime. It is impossible to feel anything but horror as Yazidi women who have escaped the clutches of Islamic State (Isis) talk about mass rapes and being sold as sex slaves. Something similar has happened, I assume, to the schoolgirls kidnapped from a school in northern Nigeria by fighters from another Islamist organisation, Boko Haram. With the second anniversary of the mass abduction approaching next month, more than 200 girls are still missing and their desperate families can only guess at what might have happened to them.

© and read the rest of this piece: Feminism shines a light on a world darkened by sexual slavery, mass rape and misogyny (Indo)