The aim of this exciting new BRIDGE Cutting Edge Programme on Gender and Social Movements is to inspire and support collaborative approaches to mobilisation around shared equity and justice concerns, promoting the inclusion of feminist principles and practices within these approaches. This theme was chosen as a result of a discussion of the BRIDGE International Advisory Committee (IAC) members.
Social justice movements have been highly effective in exposing inequality and injustices at regional, national and international levels. They have the potential to generate significant change through collective power. The most momentous advances for gender equality such as the Beijing Platform for Action and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) could not have been achieved without the collective work of women’s movements.
But social justice movements face a range of major obstacles to future progress and threats to past gains, such as rising fundamentalisms, militarism, pervasive gender based violence, increasing inequality, accelerating climate change, the financial crisis and care crises. Especially in the face of effective strategising by conservative and fundamentalist forces (often particularly vocal in opposition to women’s rights), building inclusive alliances around shared social justice concerns is more important than ever. This programme will ask how effective relationships can be forged women’s movements and other social justice movements, and what is needed to construct productive new alliances that bridge old divides.
As we are aware of the vastness of the topic, and the strong existing work focusing on women’s movements (for example AWID 2008), we engaged the IAC in a follow-up discussion to help refine the focus and framing of the programme. Below we set out our thinking as a result of this discussion and related research.