Strengthening Feminist Movements

Resilient and vibrant feminist movements are critical to defending and advancing the rights of diverse women and girls. Resourcing and contributing to these feminist movements will move us dramatically closer to our vision of gender equality for all.

What is a feminist movement?

Feminist movements have driven transformative change for diverse women throughout history and around the world. From the South Australian Women’s Suffrage League who organised to make South Australia the first jurisdiction in Australia to give (non-aboriginal) women the vote in 1894. To the Joint Action Group against Violence against Women who lobbied for more than ten years for the Malaysian Domestic Violence Act which was finally passed into law in 1995. To the “green wave’ mass protest marches organised by Argentina’s grassroots women’s movement, who triumphed in the face of powerful Catholic and evangelical churches to realise abortion rights for women in Argentina in 2020. And the #MeToo movement which has dramatically shifted public global attitudes towards sexual harassment, violence and rape. 

IWDA’s Feminist Movement Strengthening Framework aims to support and enable movements like these to flourish in our region and around the world. The framework outlines five key elements of a strong feminist movement based on IWDA’s own learning, research and practice since 1984 as well as growing global evidence of the power of feminist movements. We define resilient, vibrant feminist movements as groups of people and organisations:

  • …with connection to constituency…
  • …who invest in relationships of trust…
  • …can leverage their diversity…
  • …have co-developed an intersectional feminist analysis of issues…
  • …to collectively realise a common vision for change.

 

What is IWDA’s role in resourcing and contributing to feminist movements?

As an organisation based in the Global North, working in and with the Global South, IWDA acknowledges the damaging human consequences of colonisation. 

We also recognise the reality that international development has often been an instrument of neo-colonialism, which has reinforced structures of global and local inequality, maintaining the dominance of “developed nations” (the Global North) over the “developing world” (the Global South).

As such, we apply a decolonising solidarity lens to our feminist movement strengthening work. This takes the form of organising our contributions to feminist movements into three roles:

  • Stepping up to use our power to leverage resources and access for Global South feminist movements, and make our own contribution to global feminist movements  
  • Standing with feminist movements in solidarity and amplifying the work of global south actors
  • Stepping back so that Global South feminist movements can take centre stage.