Activity 12: Feminism and freedom: Violence, fear and our own movements

3 hours


To help us to:

  • Look inward, inside our own movements and organisations and consider the challenges within and possible solutions to this


K.A. Amienne’s (2017) infamous quote, paraphrased here, is a good starting point for this activity.

“In the social justice / not for profit sector, our approach to work, managing and at times being is made worse by the fact that we spend our days critiquing norms (gender, race, class etc.), power structures and injustice — convinced that we will speak truth to that power if we ever run across it in real life. We are all good social justice activists, we think. Abuse and wrongs couldn’t possibly happen here.”

And as the spate of recent social justice sector incidents demonstrate, when it does happen, we often falter.

Can we stand up with credibility and integrity in our struggle for freedom, when this freedom is compromised within?

Task 1

For this activity we will watch parts of the movie, The People vs Patriarchy.

The viewing will be on average around 30 minutes.

  1. Jot down your thoughts and observations while watching. Try and steer these towards the following questions:

    • What limits women’s freedom today?
    • How can we claim freedom for both men and women in the face of patriarchy?
    • How do we build defiant and supportive cultures that are oppositional and empowering?
  2. At the end of the viewing, find one other person, share your thoughts and notes and then together, using the flash cards provided, jot down your key questions/issues or concerns surrounding patriarchy and freedom, including your experiences from within your own movement/organisation. Once you are done pop your cards into the box provided.

You have a further 30 minutes to conclude your flash card write ups.

Task 2

For this task we will line up the experience in the room. We will have a panel comprising a queer activist, comrades from #TotalShutdown and #RUReferenceList, as well as any others identified. These comrades would have read two critical pieces before this session.

Panel members will get an opportunity to pick a card from the box and drawing on their own experience and the readings, they will provide their answers, insights and lessons they have to share.

They are allowed to pass on a card, add to a response and we will also provide for contributions from others in the learning community.

The facilitator will draw together the critical lessons emerging at the end of this session.

📖️ Readings


Additional videos

Crystal Dicks on women and patriarchy in the labour movement: