We loved getting your questions about feminist movement-building during the webinar, but unfortunately couldn't answer all in our limited time. Here are a couple of answers from VOICE:
Q: What’s your take on the challenge of movement building without any “ifs and buts”, that is intersectional and brings onboard diverse voices (including sex workers and LGBTQIE+ communities, etc.).
A: Taking an intersectional approach to movement building is a foundation for creating true change. A core tenet of building progressive, social movements is increasing equity between and within all identities so that every voice is heard in discourse and decision making. Because identity is so fluid and unique to each individual, challenges do arise when building solidarity as a route for social change. Bringing diverse voices together can often incite conflicting perspectives, specifically in a context where power dynamics are at play. In addition, intersectionality is also a Western based theory, and as such it can be difficult to apply the term within a global context because of differences in understanding and perceptions of the world. These aspects can often avert movements from encompassing the wide range of experiences which exist at the forefront of societal issues, excluding those who exist at the most vulnerable intersections of oppression. Despite these differences, movements that are focused around the core issues and unified need for change can and succeed. Embracing diverse voices and ensuring inclusion of all identities, regardless of any stigma associated, is vital to breaking down the barriers preventing an anti-oppressive society. Through sharing the stories of individuals who occupy different intersections of oppression and privilege, movements are strengthened and are able to reach their full potential, facilitating a more inclusive, empathetic society which embraces difference.
Q: What message would you have to donor partners on how they should approach funding local/grassroots based movements?
A: Supporting local and grassroots movements requires a dynamic approach to funding, as these organizations are often decentralized and informal. In one movement there are many organizations and individuals involved, and as such support should be aimed at covering the range of stakeholders as much as possible. Grassroots and local organizations must be involved in every stage of the donor process, and donor agencies must ensure that they are funding movements based on community needs, listening to the local voices that know best. It is essential that donor agencies allow the organizations involved in the movement to conduct movement building as they see fit, as these organizations know how best to support their communities.
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