Across our movements, we know that it is often women, femmes, and people with gender oppressed identities, who carry the brunt of the work. Coupled with the double burden of both reproductive and emotional labor which they are also subjected to, women, femmes, and gender nonconforming folks are constantly fighting and struggling for justice at work, at home, and throughout our movement spaces.
On Saturday November 4th, Enlace joined with many of our movement allies including Cornell University Industrial Labor Relations School, International Women’s Strike, Harriet’s Apothecary, Rhiza Collective, and Million Hoodies for Justice to host We Rise, a full day training and healing space dedicated to gender justice. Grounded in intersectionality, We Rise is centered at the intersections of gender, race, and class. Gender justice has been a critical focus of the New York Workers Center Federation and our Enlace Institute.
The day incorporated elements of storytelling and healing justice, political education, and strategizing. We started off with a healing session where participants created personal sustainability plans and completed individualized self care plans. We talked about the importance of linking our individual healing with the healing of our entire community.
After sharing a delicious lunch of Taiwanese dumplings and Mexican tamales (thank you, Street Vendors!), the afternoon was spent breaking down systems of oppression like white supremacy, capitalism, patriarchy, nativism, and heteronormativity. We noted the connections that exist across systems of oppression and how those systems also contribute to gender oppression. Participants recognized how gender norms, stereotypes and expectations are connected to power structures and give rise to multiple forms of oppression. We then shifted from the macro to the micro, opening the space up to our personal stories and how we’ve experienced gender oppression in multiple spaces including at work, in our homes, and in our organizations.
The final piece of the day was dedicated to strategy and tactics around resisting gender oppression. We divided into groups, exploring different scenarios relating to gender oppression. We collectively shared what tactics and strategies could be applied to each scenario, and determined the various risk levels associated with each action. Finally, we used a variation of theatre of the oppressed to role play a scenario relating to gender injustice in the workplace. Participants practiced employing various tactics to the scenario, ending with the a unified action against a sexist boss!
Folks left the space feeling motivated and ready to take on gender oppression in all its forms! One leader left with the takeaway that, “no matter your gender, we should all have the opportunity to be treated equally!”