Women's Health & Wellbeing


"If I can't dance, I don't want your revolution!” ~ Emma Goldman

 

Confronted by violence and anti-feminist backlash worldwide, women activists experience high-levels of stress and persistent burnout. Prioritizing the communities and justice agendas they serve, activists routinely fail to recognize their own vulnerability and neglect to take care of themselves. The depletion of activists puts them and their movements at greater risk, making the issue of wellbeing a matter of good political strategy and sustainability, as much as it is about compassion. 

Heart—Mind—Body is an innovative strategy lead by JASS Southern Africa that puts women’s wellbeing, integrity and safety at the centre of sustained women’s organizing and movement-building. The strategy is informed by a careful reading of our contexts and an understanding of how power operates in both the personal and public realms. From Zimbabwe, and Mexico to Honduras and Cambodia, women face threats, intimidation, arrest and torture for their work. Religious extremists and conservatives everywhere stigmatize feminists and women activists fighting for controversial issues from land rights to LGBT rights. Anti-women sentiment permeates communities, and slander is common where even families stigmatize or isolate women activists. 

We must start with the belief that the struggle to eliminate women’s inequality…must involve work on one’s own self. To take care of ourselves, know how to defend ourselves. ~ Marina BernalTen Insights to Strengthen Responses for Women Human Rights Defenders at Risk, AWID 

Although Heart—Mind—Body looks different in the three regions where JASS works, the words “heart, mind and body” consistently provide a framework that sculpts a holistic political organizing and action strategy that is careful to:

  • care for and defend women’s bodies; 
  • channel women’s passions, values and anger; and 
  • create spaces for women to develop and use their knowledge and experience to make wise political choices. 

Stay tuned for information about Heart-Mind-Body in practice