There is something deeply powerful about women coming together to fight for a common cause—so powerful that it must be threatening to the core systems of power. Otherwise, it is hard to explain why the concepts of equality and justice are causing so much controversy right now. Around the world, activists feel that a diverse opposition is systemically working against them to hinder organizing and criminalize dissent. In Egypt, Russia, India, China and other countries, governments are developing elaborate legal mechanisms to limit the scope and impact of civil society organizations, especially those that work in contested areas, such as women’s and LGBTQI rights. Religious fundamentalists across the world – Catholic, Christian Orthodox, Muslim and others – are operating as an increasingly strong force against women and girls’ most basic human rights, including their right to education, and the freedom to control their own bodies. At the same time, armed conflicts around the globe are causing devastating rates of violence against women and girls. The current conflict in Syria and the situation of refugees fleeing from it is a vivid example of a global-scale human rights crisis, which has resulted in horrifying forms of violence, abuse, and neglect. The full impact of this situation on women and girls has yet to be fully explored and documented.
Amidst all this, women leaders are stepping up to curb the global backlash against women’s human rights by strengthening movements in their communities, countries, and regions. In this inaugural issue of Bold Together: Movement News, we hear from our Vice President of Programs Jane Sloane about her recent trip to Lebanon and what our grantee partners are doing to help women and girls during the refugee crisis; we share findings and case studies from a learning project in Asia and the Pacific, where grantee partners are promoting transformative women’s leadership for social change; and we hear about how powerful it can be to gather women leaders from different countries together to achieve a common goal, as we did in a convening this year in the Congo.
Global Fund for Women is committed to providing flexible general support grants to women-led groups, and to strengthening movements with advocacy campaigns that can amplify their voices for greater impact. By launching Bold Together: Movement News, we aim to provide a space for mutual learning and solidarity with our partners – a platform where we can share insights from our work, as well as highlight contributions from grantees, women’s human rights defenders, advocates, and activists. I would like to ask you to engage by sending your content, sharing feedback, and encouraging your friends and peers to sign up here.
On behalf of the Global Fund for Women team, thank you for your courage and tireless work towards justice and equality.
Program Officer for Europe and Central Asia
Bold Together: Movement News editor