Women-Led Movements versus Mixed-Gender Movements 

By Manisha Desai

From Black lives Matter to the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton women leaders are highly visible in politics not only in the United States but also around the world.  In her article in Yes!,  Rucha Chitnis argues that in the context of economic injustice stemming from corporate capitalism and climate change, movements led by women are offering a revolutionary path.  This path includes a redefinition of leadership – one that is collective and collaborative rather than focused on an individual – and development – one that challenges the myth of  “there is no alternative” to neoliberal capitalist development.  It understands issues and oppressions based on race, class, sexuality, disability as interconnected and privileges solidarity and movement building as the best response to marginalization and exclusion.

She provides important examples of women’s movements from around the world to demonstrate this.  For example, in the U.S. #Say Her Name campaign highlights how police brutality affects Black women as a corrective to mainstream media focus on Black men.  Via Campesina, a movement of peasants, landless farmers, small producers, and indigenous communities that originated in Brazil but now spans the globe, chose this International Women’s Day, March 8th, to challenge the capitalist violence perpetrated against women and men all around the world.

I had made a similar argument in my book Gender and the Politics of Possibilities, that global politics, which I defined as transnational activism of non-state actors, including movements, against a variety of global issues was essentially feminist politics as it was based on the practices and principles of women’s movements around the world.  While women-led movements continue to chart a revolutionary path, mixed gender movements demonstrate a less radical trajectory. Continue reading “Women-Led Movements versus Mixed-Gender Movements ”