As at the Feminist Hiking Collective our work is aimed at building collective feminist leadership, we aim to publish a range of collaborative dialogues, articles and resources to unpack it (or at least try!) as a collective reflection project. We would be very happy to receive contributions and further reflections on this, as this is very much a working project and it is not meant to be a fully comprehensive analysis – it aims to be part of our grounding and analysis work to honour and document where we've come from and explore pathways forward in practice.
The Unpacking Collective Feminist Leadership project aims to include tools for system transformation, from the inner to the wider society levels, collaborating with feminist groups, organisations and people to collectively reflect, build awareness and analyse the structures that underpin the neoliberal capitalist individualist patriarchal system, and unpacking different elements to build collective feminist leadership, mapping some of its practices worldwide, and grounding the project in a decolonial vision, ensuring dialogues and narratives are not extracting or de-contextualising knowledge, epistemologies and wisdom, but rather co-creating a pluralist feminist narrative that honours and acknowledges the collective experiences, work, struggles and resistance of groups and movements across the world.
We have written an introductory article to the project - you can find it here. This initial article is only an initial unpacking of collective feminist leadership, and aims to be followed by dialogues, co-authored pieces and initiatives that focus on specific themes, including:
We would like to acknowledge and express our profound gratitude to those feminist groups, collectives, networks and organizations whose work have collectively inspired and grounded our reflections and our practice: JASS, CREA, FRIDA The Young Feminist Fund, Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Mujeres Defensoras de Derechos Humanos (IM-Defensoras), AWID, FAMM Indonesia and many more.
Western society is based on a (neo)colonial capitalist and neoliberal patriarchal system which encompasses all forms of discrimination, violence, oppression and dominance. This society seeks to dominate the whole world-system. This Western “way of perceiving and living” has literally led to putting life on Earth at risk. Central to this system and society, there is individualism and egocentrism: a focus on self-achievement and competition, on “success” and the image of the self, on self-centred personalised leadership, and on a lack of connection and sense of belonging as beings of nature.
Feminist leadership is at the heart of creating transformative social change. By building collective feminist leadership, society as a collective will be equipped to challenge racism, classism, poverty, and any form of oppression and discrimination. Feminist leadership is a way to profoundly transform the way that leadership is practised, and it is necessary to pursue a feminist vision of the world.
In this time of urgent and profound systemic change, we need to be inspired by movements and collective efforts and feel encouraged to be part of them, to have a role to play - and a responsibility to act - as part of collective power.
We thus need to focus on connecting the learnings and centring the narratives from the diverse practices of collective feminist leadership and power across the world. These practices exist, and resist.
Our collaborative initiative From me to we thus aims to build collective inspiration, and strengthen efforts to create and sustain a radically different feminist leadership and practice of power. This is an effort of collective grounding, inspiration and aspiration.
Mapping practices of collective feminist leadership worldwide
A collaborative initiative between Srilatha Batliwala and Feminist Hiking Collective
The FROM ME TO WE initiative is a collective and iterative process that aims to collect and distribute a creative map interweaving and describing the practices of collective feminist leadership, through an open call for submissions on a yearly basis. This initiative is part of the Unpacking Collective Feminist Leadership project, and is grounded in this introductory article on collective feminist leadership. We aim to launch the map and the collective feminist leadership stories during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence time (25 November - 10 December) every year.
Our hope is to gather the stories of resistance and change in the way leadership is shared and practiced, aligned with feminist values and politics, and highlight how these attempt to dismantle and reconstruct the dominant neoliberal, competitive and self-centred paradigm and narrative of leadership. It aims to explore and go deeper into the structures and practices that underpin and sustain collective feminist leadership and power, and their attempts to create new models of collective feminist governance within groups, organizations and movements. We believe there are multiple and diverse spaces, organizations, movements, collectives, communities, groups and contexts practising collective feminist leadership – and that while these practices and experiences may be in diverse locations and contexts, they are all interconnected. This participatory and iterative mapping seeks to focus on the interconnection and commonalities, and support the sharing of experiences and learnings, so that each innovation inspires others. The initiative is a continuous work-in-progress, which is why we commit to updating the map every year through a regular call for submissions, and aim to reach a range of spaces and realities, through proactive dissemination.
We believe this process is vital to create new feminist narratives of power, inspiration and aspirations, to learn from collective experiences and continually deepen radical practices, and to advance our shared goal of a just feminist society that is grounded in our collective power, interconnection and belonging to nature.
This is a collective and transformative political process of mapping, documenting and archiving collective feminist leadership experiences. We believe this process is vital to create new feminist narratives of power, inspiration and aspirations, to learn from collective experiences and continually deepen radical practices, and that the insights and practices gleaned from these stories can be the seeds contributing to and advancing our shared goal of a just and collective feminist society that is grounded in our collective power, interconnection and belonging to nature.
Initiative webpage and call for submissions