This paper describes four areas where feminist movements 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 (VAWG). It looks at 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).
This mini-series explores the power of feminist civil society in driving gender equality in health programmes and health systems. Feminist civil society organisations have played, and are playing, a fundamental and varied role in advancing gender equality in global health. Despite this, there is insufficient understanding and acknowledgement of what meaningful engagement and collaboration looks like between public health actors and feminist civil society organisations. There are examples of what successful partnerships look like and there are transferable lessons that can be taken away from these experiences. For example, the case of violence against women and girls.
Our guest speakers:
- Jessica Horn, Independent Consultant
- Avni Amin, Department of Reproductive Health and Research on Violence against Women, World Health Organization
- Lori Michau, Co-founder and Co-Director, Raising Voices, Uganda
Michau, L., Horn, J., Bank, A., Dutt, M., & Zimmerman, C. (2015). Prevention of violence against women and girls: Lessons from practice Lancet, 385(9978), pp.1672–1684. S0140-6736(14)61797-9
Raising Voices and the Sexual Violence Research Initiative. (2020). Learning together: A guide for feminist practice in violence against women and girls research collaborations. Kampala, Uganda and Pretoria, South Africa.
Jewkes, R., Willan, S., Heise, L., Washington, L., Shai, N., Kerr-Wilson, A. and Christofides, N. (2020). Effective design and implementation elements in interventions to prevent violence against women and girls. What works to prevent VAWG? Global Programme Synthesis Product Series. South African Medical Research Council, Pretoria.
The field of intervention around violence against women and girls (VAWG) provides a rich case study of how multidisciplinary public health praxis that works in active partnership with civil society organisations and social movements can turn the course of a public health problem.
In this episode, we discuss key lessons for establishing and maintaining successful multistakeholder partnerships with feminist civil society organisations in ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccinations. We explore a very contemporary example from Mexico and hear the perspective of the national government and feminist civil society on how priorities converged in the development of a national strategy which ensured more gender equitable access to COVID-19 vaccinations, in particular for pregnant women.
Our guest speakers:
- Karla Berdichevsky, Head, National Center for Gender Equity & Reproductive Health, Ministry of Health, Mexico
- Raffaela Schiavon Ermani, Freelance Consultant
Actualización del análisis de priorización de las vacunas para COVID-19 en México y recomendaciones generadas (Updated advice on COVID-19 vaccination prioritisation in Mexico)
La salud sexual y reproductiva de las mujeres ante la pandemia del COVID-19 (Book chapter Raffaela Schiavon authored related to bioethical aspects of COVID-19)
This episode turns back to the field of violence against women and explores the current tensions, need, and pathways to rebuild connections between feminist civil society actors and health researchers. As the needs in the field of violence against women have shifted, so too have the people who hold the power in the movement. The rise in these tensions stem from much of the longstanding work of feminists being sidelined by newer institutions and actors who are much less familiar with the history. The podcast also provides advice of key takeaways or transferable lessons for those working in other health areas to better engage with feminist civil society actors and build more meaningful partnerships.
Our guest speakers:
- Tina Musuya, Executive Director, Centre for Domestic Violence Prevention (CEDOVIP)
- Lori Heise, Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Heise, L. L. (1996). Violence against women: Global organizing for change. In J. L. Edleson & Z. C. Eisikovits (Eds.), Future interventions with battered women and their families (pp. 7–33). Sage Publications, Inc.