The year 2020 continues to challenge us – individually and in our personal lives as well as in our roles that we fulfill in organisational settings and formal leadership roles. When I became part of the FAIR SHARE Action Circle and we started our work on feminist leadership, none of us expected that we would be doing our collective work in such a demanding environment: amidst a global pandemic, with only virtual ways to connect and heavily affected by the ongoing reckoning in our sector about racism, sexism and colonial roots. We did not shy away from these challenges but rather tried to acknowledge and accept them. We agreed that this is exactly why we founded the Action Circle: To create a space where challenges that cannot be solved by one person or organisation alone can be taken on together. So, over the past few months we made time in our busy schedules to meet, discuss, argue and move forward. I am very excited that we are now sharing our ideas and reflections about feminist leadership, laying out how we suggest to transform the sector based on feminist values and what we learned by going through this process ourselves. By sharing our experiences, we hope to contribute to the many different discussions happening currently and we hope to inspire many more to start their journey towards feminist leadership.
Because this joint journey together with my five Action Circle feminist sisters has been amazing for me. It has been my first time to be part of a circle where I can live, act, contribute, challenge and participate authentically. The idea of the circle is not to rank one another but to value all voices equally, understanding that questions or proposals on the table can all be equally valid – knowing of course that we all sensed from the very beginning (not all of us knew each other and some of us haven’t even met each other in person) that we shared the same values and principles. I believe I have grown immensely over the past year by constantly reflecting upon my own leadership – my aspiration of being a feminist leader and where I find myself on this journey. My one learning therefore is that both personal and professional life show that an aspiration can become reality only when I stay true to myself and speak truth to power. It is therefore essential for me to approach people and nature – our planet – with love. Does that sound too naïve? I think it is absolutely not easy and sometimes very challenging due to many reasons – mostly due to power dynamics in play – but possible! Thanks to the Action Circle I became more confident in walking the talk more than ever before.