The Need for Movements to be Intergenerational & Intersectional

By Laura Thompson, Ontario Public Service Employees' Union (Canada)

The panel discussions that I observed on my second day at the UN Commission on the Status of Women was a reminder as to why it is so important for social movements to be intergenerational & intersectional in their approach. So often social justice work is done in silos that fail to factor the insight that putting people of different ages together, for example, can offer or neglect to see how other how other movements that on the surface may seem unrelated are really another piece of the larger puzzle of women’s rights. Whether it’s taking an intergenerational approach so ending gender based violence or understanding how environmental issues impact women these discussions were a reminder that the work of women’s rights needs to be done with the fuller picture in mind. 

‘Intergenerational Leadership: The Gold Standard for Eradicating Gender Based Violence’ as per the title focused on how generations can come together to end gender based violence. As one of the panelists mentioned often we think of mentoring as being one way but that really the role of the pupil & the teacher is fluid & allows each person is able to learn from the other. Another panelist also noted the need to expand our understanding of gender based violence to include the violence face by trans & gender non binary individuals.

‘Advocating at the Intersection of Women’s Rights & Environment’ focused on how women are impacted by enivironmental issues & that in the larger picture environmental rights are women’s rights. It was also a reminder of the negative impact of privitization & how that becomes a barrier for women when accessing something as basic & necessary as water. 



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