'Modern' societies are often assumed to be those that encourage and permit gender equality. However, across most of the world this association is far from general. In this talk I want to discuss aspects of the disjunction between the narratives that we have about ourselves as 'modern' and the various forms - and reasons - for the persistence of gender inequality. In particular I want to explore the ways in which many societies have used ideas about the 'modern' and the 'emancipation' of women to establish narratives about progress that have actually worked against any significant movements towards real equality between women and men.
Mary Evans is LSE Centennial Professor at the Gender Institute. Prior to coming to the LSE as a Visiting Fellow she taught Women's Studies and Sociology at the University of Kent. The primary focus of Professor Evans' work is those narratives (be they fictional or otherwise) through which we construct our social identity. Professor Evans is particularly interested in the part that gender and class play in these narratives and the ways in which narratives of ourselves are an essential part of what we define as the modern.