Achieving Transformative Feminist Leadership

A dream team of feminist leaders and thinkers recently published a powerful new toolkit to support transformative feminist leaders and organizations. 

Feminist toolkit coverAchieving Transformative Feminist Leadership: A Toolkit for Organisations and Movements was written by Srilatha Batliwala of AWID (Associaton for Women’s Rights in Development) and Michel Friedman of Gender at Work for CREA, a ground-breaking feminist human rights organization based in New Delhi, India.

Created for a wide international audience, the toolkit is designed to help individuals and groups examine, analyze, and strengthen the pursuit and practice of feminist leadership. What is transformative feminist leadership?

“Women with a feminist perspective and vision of social justice, individually and collectively transforming themselves to use their power, resources and skills in non-oppressive, inclusive structures and processes to mobilise others – especially other women – around a shared agenda of social, cultural, economic and political transformation for equality and the realisation of human rights for all.”

There is a strong focus in the toolkit on organizational process, since, as stated in the introduction, “A transformative feminist leader will institute these mechanisms and policies and value statements in order to make the organisation more transparent, accountable and governed by rational, value-based systems and guidelines.”

The toolkit is a practical resource to follow up on an excellent paper written by Batliwala for CREA in 2011, Feminist Leadership for Social Transformation: Clearing the Conceptual Cloud.

CREA’s founder and executive director, Geetanjali Misra, is a brilliant feminist leader in her own right, and had this to say about the toolkit.

This toolkit is intended to serve not just feminist organisations engaged in issues of human rights and social justice, but also organisations that have programs that focus on women, or are led and staffed, wholly or in part, by women. It represents much of what we at CREA have endeavoured to do in our work both within the organisation and with our partners and networks, i.e. bring into focus forms of leadership that encourage – indeed cultivate – an active citizenship and a collective empowerment. With this toolkit, we hope to take another step towards developing individual and organisational leadership practices that are in harmony with a transformative feminist and social justice agenda.

We share a lot of common ground and values with the creators of this toolkit, and deeply appreciate the feminist lens that they bring to the field. We hope you use it and share it widely, and offer any feedback you have to its authors, who plan to strengthen and refine these practices and principles over time.