Central to our mission at Women’s Network for Change (hereafter ‘WNC’) is to defend and uphold the hard-earned values of the equality movement while, importantly, fostering the necessary steps towards realizing gender equality in our lifetime, and securing its possibility for generations to come.
What sets WNC’s efforts apart is our commitment to promoting parity through praxis. In all our efforts, we strive to promote women’s empowerment with the understanding that gender equality must be earned in, and through, historical struggles and solidarity-building. This means that, while we fight to achieve women’s emancipation, we do not presume a monolithic understanding of what it means to be a ‘woman’ nor do we wish to define one. Rather, our network strives to go beyond the scope of traditional quotas towards elevating conversations and forging necessary alliances so that we may take actionable steps towards building a future in which it is possible for “all (adult) members of society to interact with one another as peers” regardless of their gender.
At WNC, we believe that the future and possibility for such parity rests, foremost, on the realization of women’s empowerment. Using parity as the yardstick against which we may measure our success, we emphasize the importance of affirmative actions that are aimed at empowering women to wider political, social and economic participation. Importantly, at WNC, promoting parity through praxis means more than providing a platform and forum for voicing the experiences of marginalized women around the world: knowledge holds transformative power, especially when shared amongst allies. While we agree with this premise, and we acknowledge that efforts at awareness-building remain a crucial aspect of the struggle for gender-equality, the buck does not stop there! As part of our mission, we recognize the theoretical, practical and historical value of informing our struggle for equality through the active solicitation and sharing of experiences – and, in the very same breath – organizing our energies and mobilizing our resources to enact the very sorts of changes we’ve set out realize as part of our mandate. Whether by extending confidence to women’s leadership in the political arena, supporting women’s rights to command their own bodies and futures, and/or investing in efforts to uproot gendered forms of domination across social, political and economic spheres, we understand that efforts at true and lasting parity cannot succeed without concomitant efforts aimed at sustainable democratic culture in which there exists ample and equal respect for women’s leadership, views, and participation in decision-making processes.
Insofar as a global experience with gender equality remains, historically speaking, uncharted and unfamiliar territory, we appreciate that overcoming generations of inequality and, all too often, violent suppression, is no easy or simple task and, therefore, do not presume to be equipped with all the answers. What we do know is that in order for change to occur, women, in all their diversity, must gain an equal footing as ‘peers’ and enjoy an equal share in the ownership and direction of their communities. Owing, in large part, to marginalized experiences, we further believe that women are themselves best suited for leading such a momentous challenge to the status quo. To this end, our members are our partners in the fight against global, regional and ideological manifestations of patriarchy, and our partnership represents a growing network of vocal actors who have, together, and in their own ways, committed to advancing gender-equality in a world and era plagued by a resurgence of fundamentalisms and routinized violence against women.
The WNC is a critical and historic project; one that seeks to redefine what it means to be a woman today so that future generations can be their fullest selves tomorrow. Together, we can alter the course of patriarchy, and successfully turn the tide towards parity.