This article is part of a series for the annual and global 16 Days of activism against gender-based violence published in collaboration with the Women Human Rights Defenders Middle East and North Africa (WHRDMENA) coalition as part of its #SheDefends yearly campaign. The articles reflect on the past, present and future of feminist movements and the meaning of global solidarity.
The intense weight of isolation that we have all experienced with the COVID-19 pandemic has created a major rupture that needs repairing. For the global feminist movement, which has historically thrived through connectedness, the damages were massive.
This is why the Women Human Rights Defenders Middle East and North Africa (WHRDMENA) coalition as part of its #SheDefends yearly campaign, together with openDemocracy will be publishing a series of articles throughout the annual and global 16 Days of activism against gender-based violence. These articles will reflect on the past, present and future of feminist movements and the meaning of global solidarity.
Before the pandemic, feminist movements were raising questions around important issues that threaten our progress. Key among these issues is the global rise of right-wing movements, especially – but not only – the one that brought about the Donald Trump administration, which caused damage to feminist agendas and their access to resources worldwide. Right-wing agendas are also heavily involved in the case of Palestine, with the instrumentalisation of false accusations of antisemitism to silence those who call for Palestinian inidiginous and human rights.
Just before the pandemic hit, we were witnessing how an ‘anti-rights’ discourse had spread from the Global North to the Global South. We felt isolated by the pandemic, not only in how it affected our ability to progress in our own movements, but in our ability to connect with each other and move across borders. It also cast a shadow over issues and movements that were already isolated from the mainstream feminist discourse, such as migration, refugees and the right of women to pass nationality onto their families.
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