December 5, 2019

An ode to feminist partnerships

Amanda Gigler
This article is written by:

Amanda Gigler

A final feminist fundraising blog from our outgoing Director of Partnerships and Communications.

Partnerships are a beautiful thing.

Feminist organisations in partnership bring joy to my life – and joy to the world – with conversation starters such as:

Let’s not forget that the personal is political. When are we going to talk about our bodies and sex? Our human right to pleasure! And let’s also make space for asexual people.”

Hey, can you share your lobby letter with our team? Our statement is being sent to press now. Yes! Coordination! Success!

The next point on the agenda is a collective exercise to co-create a process for the plan to build a series of learning questions that will contribute to the working group that will facilitate the design of our next meeting agenda.”

I need my hot pink lipstick for this conversation.

You may read some hyperbole in these quotes. Feminist partnerships are nothing if not larger than life.

Partnership is the natural state of being for feminist organisations. Social change doesn’t happen in a vacuum; it doesn’t advance thanks to only one person or one group or one project. Social justice does not last if it is achieved only in one body or only in one place.

Feminists have a rich history of collaboration across borders and across movements.


Feminist partnerships favour multilateralism over bilateralism. And we tend to be in multiple partnerships at a time. And sometimes some of the members of partnerships overlap. It’s kind of like meta-polyamory.

Long before funders started to publish RFPs (requests for proposals) that required – or strongly encouraged – applicants to apply for funding in consortia, feminist organisations were working in partnership. Feminists have a rich history of collaboration across borders and across movements. Yes, we’re talking about meta-polyamorous, long-distance, multi-thematic relationships. And like so many feminist lovers, we likely met at an AWID Forum.

Feminist partnerships can be a bit intense. They vary from hyper-organised to absolute chaos. Sometimes they cause a little frustration. And they often lead to amazing social change.

As with many transformational processes, feminist partnerships create value beyond what each individual or each organisation brings to the table. Members are mutually accountable not only to their funders and to their constituencies, but also to each other. And as with polyamorous relationships, feminist partnerships are built over time and require care, consent, communication, flexibility, forgiveness, learning, shared values and co-created goals.

Feminist partnerships are everywhere and are thriving. Just as with polyamory: there are more of us out there than you might think and we don’t always shout our successes from the rooftops.

Whether you’re into monogamy or poly, I hope you’ll agree that feminist partnerships are something to celebrate. Read more about some of the amazing relationships we’re a part of here, here and, yes, right there!

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