Today’s efforts to address violence against women and their children comes after decades of organising by women and feminist movements to draw attention to violence and its devastating impacts on the health of individuals, families, and societies. Across time and place, feminists have been at the forefront of articulating how power imbalances between men and women and rigid gender norms help sustain and justify violence and why any effort to prevent violence must engage with these important constructs.
Concepts like power, gender, norms, and feminism, however, are complex and frequently contested. They are, nonetheless, at the core of most work on violence prevention. Feminism as a practice and an ideology provides both analytic and hands-on tools for understanding how patriarchy and notions of being a ‘good woman’ and ‘real man’ perpetuate violence. Feminists have also pioneered ‘power analysis’ as a means to understand and transform unjust social arrangements.
To assist groups working on violence, we have assembled some foundational resources on feminism(s), power, empowerment, and gender as a system of norms, relations, identities, and structures. This page collates both articles that help explain these concepts as well as exercises and workshop ideas that can help others engage with these topics.