Women’s organizations are essential in building a community and promoting genuine solidarity.
What are grassroots women’s organizations?
The term “grassroots women’s organizations” or GWO refers mostly to locally based and non-government organizations (NGO) mostly led by women. Their goal is to empower and advance women’s rights in all fields such as economic, social, political, and cultural. Many of today’s women’s organizations have local offices in communities where they play a key role in promoting women’s empowerment, gender equality, and economic development. Grassroots women’s organizations have programs that educate their members or the community about legal rights, skills training for future employment, and seminars about reproductive health and maternal health. They also work hand in hand with other groups to ensure that the community can access health care. In some cases, collective savings, cooperatives, and loan programs are also present.
How do they impact the lives of women and the whole community?
We see in Carol Wilson-Mack’s Patchwork origins of humble beginnings by a women’s community in rural Bamberg, in South Carolina from 1939 to 1959. Quilting was the major activity they shared. It allowed them to work and help their families. Quilting also became a venue for them to interact and share stories. It bridged the gap between generations and enabled them to form solidarity among women, both young and old. This is just one of the advantages of having a grassroots women’s organization. Another essential contribution of GWOs is education. By having a central organization in the local community, it is easier to disseminate information and knowledge. When women are organized, great things can be achieved politically, economically, socially, and culturally. And the impact is not exclusive to women. Grassroots women’s organizations can facilitate programs and reforms that are beneficial to the local community.
Building solidarity through art, literature, culture, and tradition.
There are many ways to organize and empower women. It is not limited to socio-economic groups and cooperatives. Solidarity can be formed using art (visual, music, performance, etc.), writing groups or poetry circles, cultural endeavors, and other campaigns. Grassroots women’s organizations with specific interests can facilitate training, exhibitions, and performances to further promote women’s rights and advocacies. It is also a great platform to invite others whose interests fall in these categories. Creative platforms can also generate income for their members and the community. Nowadays, many international economic development groups work with NGOs and GWOs to further promote their programs and services. The trick is to find the right partner and ensure sustainability in the years to come.
The Future of Grassroots Women’s Organizations
Now more than ever, there is a greater need to educate, organize, and mobilize women in their respective communities. There are a great need and opportunity for women to be leaders, facilitators, and educators. The world is fast-changing and what happens on the community level affects the national and international political, social and economic landscape, and therefore women must ensure that they play an integral part in these decision-making. We can expect more GWOs, national and international women’s organizations to play an active part in legislation, education, public administration, and campaigning for women’s rights, children’s protection, health care, and gender equality.
Overall, we see the bright future of women’s organizations on all fronts, leading and paving the way to a more progressive and empowered society.
Carol Wilson-Mack is an author of the book Patchwork: Conversations between Generations. She holds a Master’s in Communication Arts from the New York Institute of Technology. Wilson-Mack is a graduate of The Long Ridge Writer’s Group. To know more about her work, you can grab a copy of her book or visit her website today.