2020 was supposed to mark the beginning of a new decade for gender equality: Before Covid-19 hit the world, the international community was preparing for the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which remains the most comprehensive agenda for gender equality and advancing the rights of all women and girls, and launching “Generation Equality”.
So, a celebration is in order, one could argue. Though, a closer look at the last 25 years reveals a rather sobering balance of gender equality related achievements. Despite fundamental gains and an increasing commitment to gender, and social justice as a key issue among others, we are still miles away from fully realising the commitments that were made 25 years ago: not one country is currently on the path to achieve gender equality by 2030.
A bitter realization, yet no reason to despair. After all, this young decade is all set to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which gives high priority to gender equality. The United Nations made gender equality both a goal of its own right and a prerequisite for achieving the other 16 goals. Previous efforts, however, indicate that it will take more than a signature on the Agenda, to turn this vision of social justice into reality.
We know from experience: social process is never an automatism. A paradigm shift is not a matter of checking boxes, but rather the sum of small changes we dedicatedly live and breathe in our everyday life. Thus, in order to go about this vision, we respond to the status quo with Feminist Leadership.
Feminist Leadership is a concept developed and practised mainly by women and women’s movements in the Global South. Over the last years it has started to make its way into the international social impact sector, with organisations such as ActionAid and Oxfam embracing and implementing feminist leadership as part of their organisational strategy.