Feminist Movement Building ~ Feminist Movements ~ Feminist Organisations
What is the difference?
In April 2012 IsBambi and I went to AWID2012, the international forum of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development in Istanbul, Turkey and I went to a really fabulous session about Movement Building, what it is and why we should do it. It was at this breakout session that I really managed to figure out in my head what I wanted for feminaust in the long term, that I didn’t want it to become some sort of “organisation” but that I wanted it to be more than just a website/blog. What I wanted was it to be a movement
Lets start with a few short definitions.
Feminist Movements: are women, women’s groups etc with social and economic goals that are specific to gender equality or women’s empowerment and aim to DO and get other people to DO things that are crucial to changing the status quo in regards to women.
Feminist Movement Building: the attempt to bring feminist perspectives into the agendas of other movements. Engaged in trying to make social and economic justice movements more accountable to gender equity. For example, do gender roles still exist within movements such as Occupy in areas such as who the leaders are and who the carers are, who gets to speak on behalf and who provides the information/speech/data for them to speak?
Feminist Organisations: are formal structured organisations/groups/collectives that aim to DO things for and with women with equity and justice in mind.
So if I want feminaust to be a movement and also to contribute to feminist movement building what does this look like and how can I learn from previous groups and movements in how to do it best?
Well like the title of this article says, the most important thing to do is make sure the goals and aims of the movement are not PALE and have vibrancy, colour, interest and creativity, not STALE and have flexibility, and lastly are not MALE as in, not taken over by male leaders and male ideology and focus. This isn’t to say that men are not welcome in feminist movements or cannot be allies in feminist movement building but it does say that women do have to run the show, make the decisions and prioritise what they see as the keys to success, and not be swayed but what has been or what was done by male leaders both in the past and the present.
Feminist movements, feminist movement building and feminist organisations need to work together, need to recognise and support each other and sometimes are operating together within themselves already without recognising it. If a family violence organisation takes the problem of family violence to the street, writes budget submissions and press releases, trains advocates and media savvy survivors then are they still just an organisation? Of course not, but we also need to recognise that our organisations cannot be everything to everyone either and that partnerships with feminist movements and with feminist movement builders are essential.
So, what are you? Where do you want to be? Will you join the feminaust movement?