Change Theory

With the power of our numbers – organized around common agendas - women can better challenge inequality and violence, transform power, and make strides in ensuring justice and peace for all.  

From this premise, JASS equips women individually and collectively by structuring and sustaining safe spaces where women:

  • deepen their analysis of power and injustice in their lives and their world;
  • gain and generate new tools, information, and strategic skills;
  • renew energy and spirit;
  • spark and deepen their organizing;
  • practice and innovate new forms of power, leadership and organization;
  • strengthen political relationships of trust;
  • develop common agendas to address needs, rights, and safety; and
  • build vertical and horizontal links across identities, sectors, issue silos, and locations.

Once women are equipped in these ways, JASS believes that they are better able to:

  • mobilize and amplify political influence;
  • generate and demand resources and freedom from violence;
  • respond to urgent situations, and protect frontline activists; and
  • resist injustice and ultimately transform power in both the personal and public arenas.

JASS’ theory of change rests on these key assumptions or beliefs

  1. Women’s organizing makes a difference by expanding and improving women’s sense of self, connections with others and roles in decision-making, thereby improving resource distribution and deepening democracy – this is the only route to eradicating violence.
  1. Many movements have organized women but instrumentally; organizing led and shaped by women’s political agendas is fundamentally different.
  1. Effective women’s organizing requires varieties of activist leadership - including the capacity to facilitate, mediate, mobilize, and inspire that potential in others - embodied in multiple leaders taking on different roles throughout the movement.
  1. Activist leadership involves shifts in psychology, ideology, and practice, built through individual and collective processes and in action. 
  1. The work of activists and organizers is to bring women together to identify, analyze, and solve common, deeply felt problems. 
  1. Through this generative process, women recognize their capacity to engage with and transform power. JASS calls this ‘crossing the line’ because women’s engagement with power pushes the boundaries of socially prescribed roles. Women may begin by addressing problems and structures that seem small, but their collective experience equips and inspires them to tackle successively bigger agendas.
  1. A feminist organizing process is both deeply personal and public. The personal is always a site for empowerment and change. Women organizing in their communities, for instance, will inevitably engage power dynamics in their families and intimate relationships too, which we believe to be central to dismantling gender inequality.
  1. And because women’s bodies are the target of many political forces (e.g. reproductive rights, rape in war, etc.), women’s lack of self-knowledge and self-hatred,understanding of sexuality, body and self image are critical to change.  
  1. Challenging inequality generates conflict at all levels: within oneself and with others, and in the family, the workplace and beyond. Dealing with conflict can be a source of knowledge and power but can also bring social isolation, stigma, and violence. To understand conflict and how to deal with it is central to women’s organizing and self-care as activists.
  1. In light of the many global crises we face, effective change requires ever stronger alliances and connections across borders, regions, and issues.

Much of JASS’ Theory of Change framework is built on clear and helpful ways to understand and transform power.