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COFEM Feminist Pocketbook

The Coalition of Feminists for Social Change (COFEM) has developed this useful resource on feminist approaches to addressing violence against women and girls (VAWG). It aims to support practitioners, researchers and others working in humanitarian and development settings to better improve advocacy, policy and programming efforts within a shared feminist understanding on VAWG.

As such, the pocketbook unpacks essential feminist understandings on systems of power, gender inequality that produce, reinforce and perpetuate VAWG. The ten tip sheets further unpack specific issues that are central to VAWG work, while providing useful approaches and methods to improve the works of key actors working in this area.

Feminist Pocketbook Contents

Tip sheet 1: Provides a background on feminist perspectives to prevent and respond to VAWG. It unpacks gender inequality as the root cause of VAWG, while establishing the equality between women and men, and as well as aspects of intersectionality, as the basis for feminist oriented work to end VAWG.

Tip sheet 2: Emphasises the necessity for VAWG programmes to have a clear focus on the experiences of women and girls and the unequal power relations they are subjected to. It also highlights the importance of paying attention to contextually diverse experiences of women and girls, and the danger of clustering different forms of violence under one umbrella term.

Tip sheet 3: Provides key insights on how gender-based violence, sexual harassment and everyday sexism are related, while giving practical suggestions on how to take a holistic approach to end VAWG.

Tip sheet 4: This tip sheet unpacks what it means to be accountable to women and girls, and how to be accountable in advocacy, programming and policy work. It provides a set of useful guiding principles to ensure accountability to women, and girls and as well as practical advice for those who are engaging in advocacy, programming and policy work.

Tip sheet 5: In this tip sheet, key insights are given on feminist approaches to building knowledge and evidence on VAWG.  It provides insights on  principles of feminist research and implications for researching VAWG. It highlights the characteristics of feminist research, where research process itself can be important to challenge gender power inequalities, and valuing local women’s organisations and perspectives.

Tip sheet 6: Highlights challenges in engaging men in efforts to end VAWG, such as the  risks of depoliticising GBV work and diverting funding and capacity from women’s organisations. It provides insights on remaining accountable to women and girls, women leaders and women’s organisations when engaging men and boys.

Tip sheet 7: Unpacks definitional issues when understanding violence against women and girls, and violence against men and boys. It clarifies that violence against men and boys has root causes that are different to causes of violence against women and girls, that not only stem from structural gender-based inequalities. Therefore, it cautions the danger of classifying different experiences of violence under one umbrella term such as Gender-based Violence (GBV).

Tip sheet 8: Unpacks how coordinated approaches to address different forms of VAWG look like in practice, where feminist perspectives are at the centre. It provides a useful set of feminist inspired guiding principles for collaborative work.

Tip sheet 9: Discusses various ways in which feminist efforts to end VAWG can face backlash and challenges, including harassment or aggression towards activists and practitioners, and as well as the effects on their mental and physical wellbeing. It provides strategies to foresee and respond to backlash in intervention design, training, etc.

Tip sheet 10: Provides practical insights on building local feminist movements to end VAWG.

The complete list of tip sheets can be download via the COFEM website.

Date published
  • 2018
Published by Coalition of Feminists for Social Change