How do feminist organizations get beyond ‘calling out’ to repair and care? What can we learn from feminist leaders who are experimenting with strategies to build trust, reverse practices that undermine feminist collective action, and prioritize care, connection and thriving?
What is driving the growing numbers of implosions that many social justice groups around the world – including feminist organizations and networks — are experiencing? Coming on the heels of the #MeToo movement, the flashmobs inspired by the “El Violador Eres Tu!” movement, and the Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd, we started to witness staff in feminist organizations publicly calling out abuse of power, racism, gender discrimination and other forms of exclusionary practices in the very organizations that we joined to reverse these.
We just completed the seminal month for women’s rights globally – worldwide celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8th, innumerable events worldwide for Women’s History month in the United States, and the 66th UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) recently concluded. Women’s rights and feminist organizations and movements are the drivers of change for gender equality yet, the question of how feminist organizations grow and thrive, the tensions they experience between principles and how those get practiced, and around how power is exercised are really topics at events like the CSW. In our last episode, we interviewed three founder leaders of feminist organizations and for this episode, we talked with a group of fierce feminist leaders who invested their hearts and souls in four very different organizational contexts over the past 30 years.
In our last episode we talked about the challenges of dismantling patriarchy and promised that our next episode would start to unpack different strategies to topple patriarchy. We have chosen to focus first on how leadership transitions happen and what happens to the leaders who choose to leave. There is a generational shift in leadership of feminist organizations around the world and we can see that these shifts happen differently in different contexts. They represent a way in which we both wrestle with and challenge patriarchy.