Feminist Movement Building
Feminist movement building is both a means to an end and an end itself
JASS puts feminist movement building at the heart of its work, as we believe that the movements women build come from the change they want.
Our feminist movement building takes the form of sustained work with community-based activists, organizations and networks, to support and develop effective movement leadership, alliances, and strategies. The foundation of our approach is feminist popular education – a collective learning approach that enables activists to analyze their contexts and lives and shape strategies for action together. JASS develops and adapts a variety of political methodologies but all processes begin with women’s lives and their experiences of power and inequity. This facilitates the building of common ground and shared analysis – a foundation for organizing, solidarity, collective power, and solutions.
Building feminist movements is about organizing and mobilizing women around gender equality goals
Feminist movement building is about bringing gender equality goals and feminist perspectives into work with all kinds of movement partners and organizing women in many different spaces including but not limited to self-defined feminist movements.
Core principles that guide our work:
Our start and end point is women’s lives:
All JASS processes begin with women’s lives and their understanding of how power operates in their lives. This starting point empowers women to recognize their own leadership potential and capacity as organizers to make change in their communities. Women are able build their political consciousness – an awareness and analysis of the economic, political and social dynamics shaping their lives and context, which helps them identify shared problems and needs. This common ground is the foundation for women to build organizing efforts and collective power – helping transform practical needs (e.g. clean water, protection from violence, access to land) into a shared commitment that sparks and sustains feminist organizing and strategies.
Power at the center:
JASS’ power framework, developed by JASS founders, scholars and activists, enables activists to understand and strategize to address the multiple visible (policy), hidden (non-state actors controlling the agenda) and invisible (internalized and ideological) dynamics of inequality. Combined with a feminist intersectional analysis that explores how gender, class, sexuality, race and other factors impact our lives and alliances, we build strategy focused on transformative power (power to, within, with and for). By doing so, JASS prepares activists to expect, understand and mitigate inevitable conflict and backlash generated by change work, and build trust across differences as the foundation for strong movements.
Safe spaces are political spaces:
Safe spaces are carefully constructed in a way that allows each woman to be fully present; this is essential for the deep reflections and dialogues that not only foster meaningful connection and understanding, but also deepened political trust – the foundation of collaboration and mutual support. It is from here that women can identify common problems, find solutions, navigate conflict, and make decisions together. Over time, these spaces evolve into cross-issue solidarity and mutual protection networks, offering a sense of belonging and support in challenging contexts.
Feminist movement leadership:
While many organizations approach leadership from an individual perspective, JASS envisions a more collective leadership model that emphasizes the capacities and attributes of feminist grassroots organizers and equips to seek and build common ground amongst themselves, in their communities and across borders.
Bridging theory and practice:
As evidenced by our work on power, we are dedicated to bridging theory and practice by bringing together the knowledge of scholars, students, practitioners, and activists. We collaborate with research institutions to contribute and influence the latest thinking on power, civic participation, democratic shrinking space, accountability, and more.
Local change, global influence.
While many organizations focus on scaling and replicating, we believe that meaningful lasting change happens in people’s lives and contexts, and that our task as movement builders is to amplify and connect these distinct stories and models of change into a forward-looking potent advocacy, communications and influence agenda at the global level. Our work on the protection of women human rights defenders illustrates the effectiveness of this approach.