A gender-just social movement is one that creates a positive environment to support internal reflection, learning and action on equality and inclusion, as well as providing support for participation and leadership among under represented groups.

The resources below provide an insight into how this could be done. There are also resources highlighting the work going on within organisations, structures and movements to promote change on women's rights and gender justice.

24 resources - Page 1 of 3
  • ARROW resource kit

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    Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women, 2014

    This Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women (ARROW) publication, the ARROW Resource Kit (ARK), is a compilation of the most effective governance and management tools and resources that ARROW has developed over the past 20 years. ARROW decided early to give equal priority to programme and organisational development, and has since been assessed by donors and external evaluators as strong in both aspects. ARROW has documented and shared their experiences to enhance their own development, as well as to support and encourage other organisations. The ARK is a resource for leaders and managers working in the women’s movement or other movement-based organisations, as well as scholars and organisational development practitioners. The ARK is divided into four chapters, the first of which provides a brief history of ARROW’s inception and growth as a feminist organisation dedicated to sexual and reproductive health and rights, highlighting key developments, etc. The second chapter describes ARROW’s core beliefs, including that consciously acknowledging and mediating power can lead to a higher level of participation in an organisation; this chapter also shares processes, tools and stories related to ARROW’s structural pillars. In the third chapter, the authors illustrate how ARROW has succeeded in building partnerships, focusing on the following topics: the selection of partners, sharing power in partnerships and capacity building. The fourth chapter presents the main components of ARROW’s organisational sustainability strategies, as well as resources for each. The conclusion summarises the main lessons ARROW has learned over the years, among which is to invest in process: take steps to come to common understandings, agreements and decisions over any governance, organisational or programmatic matter in a way that creates a sense of belonging, inclusion, valuing and collective ownership. The final, and perhaps most important, lesson is the importance of sharing insights, tools and resources among women’s organisations. Through the ARK process, ARROW realised that more time and effort must be invested into its own organisational development, for which there has been insufficient funding in recent years. This publication is made possible with support from the Global Fund for Women, Nina Raj, Sida and the Ford Foundation.

  • A tale of two movements: how women's rights became human rights

    M Bhattacharjya
    BRIDGE, 2013
    Where and when have human rights movements and women’s movements converged, and how have they informed and changed one another? Since Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792), the concept of ‘natural rights’ (granted to humans as ‘God’ intended) as put forward by philosophers was found to be lacking an understanding of the realities of women’s lives ordered around patriarchal structures (as man, rather than ‘god’ made). The ideas of natural rights evolved into ‘human rights’, first defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), drawn up in the aftermath of the horrors of World War II as the world looked at human life anew. The decades that followed saw the rise of movements around the world powerfully using concepts of human rights to address the arbitrary detention or torture of people imprisoned for challenging the State or their beliefs, and in documenting abuse by dictatorial regimes. This period saw a parallel rise in feminist movements around the world. This case study, based on a review of key documents and interviews with global and regional women’s rights advocates, looks at the points of convergence of these two movements, and the impacts they have had on each other. It was written especially for the BRIDGE Cutting Edge Pack on gender and social movements. [adapted from source]
  • Why gender matters in activism: feminism and social justice movements

    M Bhattacharjya et al
    Taylor and Francis Group, 2013
    This article previews three case studies developed as part of the BRIDGE Cutting Edge programme on gender and social movements. More than 100 scholars and activists from around the world contributed through debate to discuss the roles, demands, strategies, challenges, and opportunities facing women in social movements.
    The article begins by briefly contextualising the historical struggle between feminism, and the unconscious ‘deep-structure’ of all social movements. It then describes the history, structure and strategies of women in each of the case studies: Amnesty, where tensions have arisen in the past concerning the strategic focus and remit of the organisation; CLOC, a rural movement protecting natural resources, whose aim to promote gender justice is hampered by perceptions that class-based struggle should take priority; and Occupy, which saw the emergence of autonomously organised gender-focused teach-ins and workshops, and safe spaces for women.
    Some of the common threads to emerge from each of the case studies include:

    • The crucial role of feminists and gender justice advocates in creating change within movements. This goes beyond focusing on issues traditionally seen as involving women’s rights, toward gendering the culture and strategic direction of the movement as a whole.

    • The continuing barriers and hierarchies-of-rights that women face within movements. Maintaining and advancing change is often undermined by focusing on more ‘pressing’ demands.

    • Commitment at the highest level is crucial for transformative change. In movements with less defined organisational hierarchies such as occupy, dedicated groups must ensure equality issues enter the strategic dynamics present. Ultimately, all movements must recognise the holistic nature of all marginalised group demands.

    • This commitment must also translate into a change in the broader movements culture, ensuring negative internal dynamics are explicitly minimised and routed around. Safe spaces are one way to facilitate inclusion and empowerment of marginal groups, but it is important this represent a launching pad for wider discussion.

    • Gendering strategies should be tailored from the movement’s own discussion and introspection on the issues.
    • Sustained and transformative change cannot happen overnight; it requires a long-term commitment that can overcome likely backlash and even regression.
  • AWID e-learning session - changing their world: concepts and practices of women's movements

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    Association for Women's Rights in Development , 2013

    This e-learning session is the first in a series of AWID webinars to celebrate the launchof their publication ‘Changing their world: concepts and practices of women'smovements, second edition’. This webinar was hosted by Srilatha Batliwala (long-time grassroots activist, renowned gender equality advocate, and women’s studies scholar) who edited the publication. During the session, participants were able to engage through real-time polling, speaking, and and using the chat boxes while others spoke to indicate if they were in agreement or not.
    Srilatha’s presentation, ‘Movements and why they matter’ covered the following points:

    - What is a movement?
    - What is movement building?
    - Key characteristics of movements
    - Why movements matter for social transformation
    - How do movements begin?
    - Key steps in movement building
    - Different stages of growth and levels of maturity of movements
    - The relationship between movements and organisations
    - What are organisations?
    - Types of organisations in the social movement sphere
    - Movements contain two types of organisations: formal and informal
    - Roles organisations play in movements.

    Movements are said to matter because they can create change from individual to systemic levels, in both formal and informal domains.

    The presentation was followed by discussion between some of the ‘Changing their world’ case study authors and Srilatha. This was followed by questions and discussion from participants on a range of issues including: the bottom-up and sustainable nature of movements; different kinds of activists (volunteers and paid); women’s issues in minority movements, and minority issues in the women’s movement; intergenerational issues and the inclusion of young people in gender and social justice movements; as well as the different tactics and strategies of social justice and women’s movements versus fundamentalist movements.

    Srilatha finished the webinar with a summary of the main points covered, including enabling and disabling environments for women’s movements (financial pressures, government suppression of movement activism). Really interesting topics from the discussion that she highlights are: leadership, power and conflict within movement structures; sustainability and the long-term survival of movements; and the differences between ours and other kinds of movements.

    This webinar is also available as a podcast.

  • The LGBTIQ and sex worker movements in East Africa

    S Nakaweesi-Kimbugwe, H Chigudu
    BRIDGE, 2013
    How have the emerging LGBTIQ and sex worker movements in East Africa developed and connected with each other? What lessons can be learnt about inclusive movement building for social justice and human rights? This case study, written especially for the BRIDGE Cutting Edge programme on gender and social movements, describes how these movements are struggling with many issues: identity, marginalisation, denial of citizenship, invisibility, discrimination, human dignity and oppression. Despite the fact that they are dealing with contentious issues within and between movements that can make it difficult to forge common interests, goals and strategies, common ground and alliances have been built.
  • Defining our space: Gender mainstreaming strategies in the work of GPPAC – the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict

    S Bhagwan Rolls
    BRIDGE, 2013
    What strategies have been used by the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) to encourage the integration of gender perspectives into its work? What have been the roles of women’s organisations and activists in this process? This case study, written especially for the BRIDGE Cutting Edge programme on gender and social movements, sets out the ways that women’s organisations and activists within the GPPAC network, including in the Pacific Island region, have been instrumental in bringing about a gender mainstreaming strategy within GPPAC; demonstrating not only models for inclusion but also leadership in peacebuilding.
  • The Amnesty International journey: women and human rights

    D Kelleher, M Bhattacharjya
    BRIDGE, 2013
    This case study, written especially for the BRIDGE Cutting Edge programme on gender and social movements,  looks at Amnesty’s efforts over 25 years to integrate women’s rights into its work. It is based on a review of relevant literature and first hand interviews with human rights activists including those who have worked with Amnesty in the past, as well as some current staff. The authors' intent is to map the trajectory of Amnesty’s engagement with women’s rights and see which strategies worked and which didn’t, looking for the possible insights these can offer to other organisations and movements strategically incorporating women’s rights in their work.
  • Gender equality and women’s rights in the CLOC-Via Campesina movement

    P Caro
    BRIDGE, 2013
    What strategies have women leaders in the CLOC-Via Campesina movement used to integrate gender equality into the movement’s external work and internal dynamics? This case study, written especially for the BRIDGE Cutting Edge programme on gender and social movement, and based on interviews with ten women leaders of national member organisations of the Latin American Coordination of Rural Organizations, consider the successes achieved within the movement, and some of the challenges and tasks ahead.
  • World Social Forum: Integrating feminism and women activists into visions and practices of “another world”

    J Birchall, J Horn
    BRIDGE, 2013
    How has the World Social Forum included women’s rights and gender justice during its history? How are feminists working to change the forum? This short case study, written especially for the BRIDGE Cutting Edge programme on gender and social movements, pulls together commentaries of gender at the WSF in recent years.
  • Transforming power: a knotted rope

    S Meer
    Gender at Work, 2012
    This publication is an output from a two-part process with South African authors and their organisations over the course of three years. The first part of the process (October 2008 - February 2010) included an eighteen-month organisational Gender Action Learning (GAL) Process supported by Gender at Work facilitators. The second part involved an eighteen-month writing process with three peer learning writing workshops with Gender at Work writing mentors.

    The authors are from five organisations: Justice and Women, Sikhula Sonke, Remmoho Women’s Forum, Vukani Tsohang Africa, and the Kganya Women’s Consortium. With the assistance of a team of facilitator/mentors, the authors – most of whom were very inexperienced writers - produced these stories over the course of two workshops and ongoing mentoring. The stories share the authors’ insights and perspectives about the changes they noticed in their organisations as well as the constituencies with whom they worked.

    Living in under-resourced and often violent and poverty stricken circumstances, the participants in this programme had to take a step back from their everyday struggles in order to reflect and write. They were encouraged to reach beyond the confines of oppression, structural discrimination, marginalisation and exclusion. Their writing reflects their passion, wit, humour, honesty, courage and creativity.

    The action learning processes provided a safe space for participants to face themselves and each other. They learned that facing their pain, grief, fear, rage is a necessary step to creating new ways of living. Through deep reflection and exposure to new ways of seeing and being, the experience enabled multiple forms of transformation to take place (mental, emotional and spiritual). Participants found themselves better able to engage in their own and their communities’ lives with new agency, purpose and confidence.

    The Vukani participants, for example, learned the art of facilitating large community dialogues. During the process, they learned to transform traditional women’s work into something powerful. Their newfound confidence quickly translated into material benefits as well as an expanded struggle for social justice. They were able to make gains at the state level (regarding identity card procurement, etc.) and at the personal level (such as fair housing and rights to pension for the wives of polygamous husbands).

    Additional information:

    This book comes after the first publication to result from this process, ‘Writing from the inside: stories of hope and change’ (2011), which contains personal stories of change. It can be accessed at: http://www.genderatwork.org/sites/genderatwork.org/files/resources/Stories_of_Hope.pdf

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