Friday, 11 October 2013

Exciting new resource pack for social movements

BRIDGE has published a rich multi-media resource pack on gender and social movements. Find the full set on http://socialmovements.bridge.ids.ac.uk/, a beautifully designed, dedicated website. I particularly recommend the overview report and, for busy people, the brief bulletin that summarises key points.


The core message is: walk the talk! Social movements that fight for equality are not likely to make a big difference if they reproduce unequal power dynamics between men, women and gender minorities. Key points include (fat print: quotes from the bulletin):
  • Recognise and transform culture, power dynamics and hierarchies within movements: challenge those dynamics that make it difficult or uncomfortable for women and gender minorities to participate.
  • Support internal activism for change: encourage members of your movement to challenge gender inequalities within the movement.
  • Draw the line on impunity for gender-based violence: it will not strengthen your movement if you let any member - or leader - get away with gender-based violence.
  • Develop the politics and make the arguemts: identify how women, men and gender minorities are differently affected by the issue your movement works on, and develop policies to address inequalities.
  • Build inclusive alliances and common cause: for instance, if your movement does not focus on women's and gender minority rights, find allies in these movements - such as women's organisations.
  • Expand inclusion within women's and feminist movements: this does not necessarily mean that women's groups will enrol men - but it means recognising and eliminating discrimination within women's and feminist movements.
The bulletin includes a compelling description as to what a gender-just social movement looks like. A gender-just social movement:
  • Affirms the importance of tackling gender inequality as an integral component of justice for all, and names this as an explicit priority for action. 
  • Creates a positive environment for internal reflection and action on women’s rights and gender justice. 
  • Provides active and formalised support for women’s participation and leadership in all areas of movement practice. 
  • Consistently tackles gender-based violence and establishes zero tolerance for sexual harassment in movement spaces. 
  • Assesses gender bias in movement roles and redistributes labour along gender-just lines. 
  • Enables full participation of both women and men, taking into account care work and reproductive roles. 
  • Appreciates the gender dimensions of backlash and external opposition faced by activists.
  • Takes into account context-specific gender identities, trans and intersex identities and shifting understandings of gender in social life and activism.

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