Episode 21: Are Feminist Leadership Transitions Feminist?

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We just completed the seminal month for women’s rights globally – worldwide celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8th, innumerable events worldwide for Women’s History month in the United States, and the 66th UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) recently concluded. Women’s rights and feminist organizations and movements are the drivers of change for gender equality yet, the question of how feminist organizations grow and thrive, the tensions they experience between principles and how those get practiced, and around how power is exercised are really topics at events like the CSW. In our last episode, we interviewed three founder leaders of feminist organizations and for this episode, we talked with a group of fierce feminist leaders who invested their hearts and souls in four very different organizational contexts over the past 30 years. Ruby Johnson and Devi Leiper were co-EDs of FRIDA, the young feminist fund and stepped down when they turned 35, about 2 years ago. Ruth Ojiambo Ochieng was ED of ISIS WICCE, based in Uganda, for more than 20 years and stepped down in her 60s, about 5 years ago. Sara Gould was with the Ms. Foundation for Women in the U.S. for 25 years, including six years as its President and stepped down ten years ago at 60. And Katherine Acey led the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, based in New York, for more than 20 years and stepped down 11 years ago. The Ms. Foundation works exclusively in the U.S. while all the other organizations work transnationally. Three of the organizations are women’s funds. Each of the leaders in this conversation had unique experiences and thoughts about their transitions. And each brings huge amounts of wisdom and experience to the question of how leadership transitions can center feminist principles more intentionally. Come and listen to their stories!

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