2019: Feminist Realities in a changing world
AWID began preparing this annual report just as the global pandemic began to unravel how we gather, organize and live our lives. It is impossible to review what we have done without COVID-19 tinting our assessment.
Co-Creating Feminist Realities is no longer just an AWID Forum theme - it is a rallying cry in response to a pandemic that has laid bare the failures of social, political and economic systems.
It is an urgently needed affirmation that there are other, more just ways of organizing our lives. During 2019 hundreds of groups shared their experiences and proposals for feminist realities with us, ranging from radical networks of community support in Latin America facilitating self-managed abortion, to practices of community-centered economies in Indonesia and community-centered food systems in India and the US, to a re-imagination and new practice of harm-free rites of passage in Sierra Leone. These are the experiences that will chart a path forward for a “new normal”.
Yet long histories of oppression and violence can make it difficult to imagine the possible. A key part of our work in 2019 was to spark these explorations through a toolkit AWID launched to support groups interested in unearthing the stories and aspirations that are the building blocks of feminist propositions.
While we focus on our proposals for a different world, we recognize the challenging context around us.
Through the Observatory on the Universality of Rights, Feminists for a Binding Treaty, Count Me In! and other alliances, AWID has continued to push back against unfettered corporate power and fascist and fundamentalist agendas that undermine women’s rights and gender justice. With dim prospects for transformative change through multilateral processes and limited responsiveness from most states, we are redoubling our efforts to ensure that feminist movements, in all their diversity, are resourced in ways that match the critical roles they play - supporting their communities, demanding rights and responding to crises. In 2019 we introduced feminist principles and approaches to ground-breaking funds like the Spotlight Initiative and the Equality Fund, and succeeded in leveraging resources through feminist reality seed grant funding from feminist funders.
As we look ahead, it is clear that the context is calling for a transformation of our organizing strategies:
- we are learning to navigate global advocacy confined to online channels,
- we grapple with the uncertainty of when and how we can convene in person, and
- we use the tools at our disposal to tighten connections across local to global spheres.
AWID is embarking on a new membership model that lowers barriers to access and emphasizes opportunities for engagement and cross-member connection. We will continue to experiment with different online tools and processes for building community. Cross-movement engagement will stay at the center of our work. AWID’s actions in solidarity with oppressed movements and identities, even and especially where these are marginalized in feminist movements, are important to drive change and support broad and inclusive movements for all.
Crisis is not new to feminist and social movements.
We are resilient, we adapt, and we show up for each other. And we have to keep doing better. Thank you to all who are part of the journey with us.