How Are We Engaging Individuals Impacted By Violence As Courageous and Effective Contributors?

How Are We Engaging Individuals Impacted By Violence As Courageous and Effective Contributors?

In our recent interview with immigrant rights leader Pramila Jayapal, we asked her: At the September immigrant rights virtual fireside chat we hosted, you mentioned that women have the potential to transform the public policy debate and create a kind of society that only women can create. What would a trasnformed debate look like, and can you tell us move about what the society would look like and for whom? How do we, as advocates, take steps toward that goal? Read this blog to hear what Pramila had to say and join the dialogue about connecting her thoughts to the movement to end violence against girls and women.

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Here’s what Pramila had to say:

There are two immediate things that come to mind. First, I think women are uniquely qualified and positioned to think outside of boxes and silos. That’s because women are used to juggling many roles and because research shows that they actually tend to look more holistically at situations.  Women understand the connections between multiple complex issues—from health care to income to immigration. Our public policy debate rarely makes these connections across issue silos, even though public policy would be better served if we could think about the connections between health care and immigration, or income and health, as examples.  Designing our conversations and our analysis in ways that cross those silos gets us better policy. And women are in the best position to do that.  Second, women tend to be more inclined to believe in many things that we might call “progressive policy” and to support the need for government support and action on those issues.  For example, women support funding for education—because they are often the ones making key decisions about their kids’ education and they see the importance.  Studies have shown that women often make more compassionate decisions about helping people to get a hand up.  Research also shows that women understand the importance of community and family.  Imagine if we didn’t have to start by describing the need for the government to actually take care of those who need it, to fund education, or ensure that everyone has access to affordable health care!  Our debate would be transformed.  When women speak, they tend to make the case for these values.  For advocates to get to these places, we have to first examine how we talk about the issues.  Do we make the connections often enough or do we succumb to the pressures to silo our issue?  Do we connect the dots across issue but also across race?  How do we make sure that we are constantly finding a place for anyone—regardless of color, ethnicity, religion or issue area—to be a part of our activism and our solutions? Do we frame our conversations from a values place? Do we support other women (and men) who are out there doing really good work instead of letting things get in the way? And finally, do we put forward a strong gender perspective in our work? Do we put forward women as courageous, compassionate and effective contributors or do we succumb to the easier norm of women as victims?  All of these questions should guide our everyday work.  We won’t meet them every single day but the more conscious we are of these questions, the more likely our answers will forward the unique perspectives that women bring to a debate.

 Making Connections to the Movement to End Violence Against Girls and Women

We’d love to hear YOUR thoughts: Here Pramila talks about putting women forward as courageous, compassionate and effective contributors. Within this movement, what does or what would it look like to mobilize and organize survivors from this stance? How are we – or how could we — engage individuals impacted by violence as courageous and effective contributors?

Please share your thoughts via a comment below.

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