Episode Title: The Power of Feminist Civil Society: Lessons from the Field of Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls
Join us in the Power Of…podcast, a series of conversation that dives into critical, thought provoking, and contemporary content to drive gender equality in global health. Johanna Riha hosts this podcast and works at the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health in Malaysia—she is passionate to see real change happen. This episode is the first in a miniseries focusing on the power of feminist civil society in advancing gender equality in global health. Civil society activism has catalysed and been fundamental in terms of progress in a number of global health issues, very much beyond functioning as just an accountability mechanism for national governments or global health actors. Johanna dives into a discussion with feminist activist, strategist and consultant, Jessica Horn who talks about her think piece on learning from and with feminist organising in the area of violence against women and girls.
Jessica begins by highlighting areas where feminist actors have led change through expertise, capacity, and influence to anchor and build a field of activist public health that responds to violence against women and girls. She describes how feminist actors have worked to ground the field of prevention in persistent engagement with ecological frameworks, feminist ethics, and power analysis in order to shape and assess intervention models, research questions, and funding principles in ways that centre accountability to women and girls; to inspire a commitment to centering experimentation and innovation; and to press for the recognition of practitioners as knowledge producers and as experts in programme design (including an active commitment to decolonisation by shifting resources and visibility to Global South research institutions and knowledge producers).
As the episode ends, Johanna hears from two other health experts who respond and reflect on Jessica’s piece. Avni Amin, who works at the World Health Organization’s Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research on violence against women, touches on how the think piece highlighted the importance of civil society actors in health programming that kept women at the centre of the efforts. Avin also mentions the role of feminist actors in the innovations that came about as a result of meaningful partnerships. Lori Michau, the co-founder and Co-Director of Raising Voices, a feminist non-profit organisation based in Kampala, Uganda, adds that the ecological approach mentioned in Jessica’s piece provides an important contribution which can be used in other health areas to understand the different multiple and intersecting realities of people's lives and tackle gender inequalities at the micro, meso and macro level.
If you haven’t already download and read Jessica Horn’s think piece on Learning from and with feminist organising: Lessons from multi-disciplinary praxis to prevent violence against women and girls, which is the central driver of discussions for this podcast mini-series. Also don’t miss the next episode on the power of feminist civil society and keep challenging yourself to think, question, and do more to drive gender equality in global health! Please like, share, and subscribe!