A Review of Feminist Initiatives in Europe

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This briefing paper is the result of a review of feminist organizing in Europe carried out by the WIDE+ network. We held this review as we experienced fragmentation between feminist initiatives and groups. While some international spaces exist, there is no encompassing space for feminists to work together on strategies in Europe from a collective shared vision. Similarly, there is no network that connects all the diversity of feminist action and identities.

We present here conclusions from the in-depth interviews with feminists working in national and local contexts, as a source of inspiration and reflection for other feminists, without claiming that the observations from the interviews can be generalized.

Main challenges we found: In most of the interviews, the rise of the far-right emerged as a common issue in the current political spectrum. The expression of different forms of racism, LGBTQI phobia and other attempts to control activism also appear as intersectional challenges. The challenges different groups face daily in Europe differ a lot as a result of power asymmetries. Access to finance is a major issue. And another common challenge mentioned by feminist activists was a heavy workload combining their activism with paid work and reproductive work in terms of time and basic needs.

The following suggestions on strategies or areas of work for transnational collaboration came up: more funding for all kinds of feminist initiatives; transnational coalition-building and diversity of feminisms; digitalization; media strategies of building feminist narratives; sharing knowledge; and power asymmetries among feminists, including intergenerational collaboration

About the review: it synthesizes the information provided by 16 feminist groups and three feminists interviewed in the following countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Macedonia, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Greece, Hungary. One of the groups identifies itself as located in the Mediterranean region. The interviews were conducted between August and October 2019. For the methodology, we used a questionnaire and conducted a structured interview. We not only reviewed the work of the group, but also asked about the political context of the country and their understanding of feminism. A majority of the groups define their feminism with anti-racism, anti-capitalism, and anti-patriarchy.

The review has been carried out by Daniela Fontaine López and Camila Nobrega.

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