Sharing Spaces In A Global World: Working Together Across Generations
This workshop sought to address the conflict between generations of feminists and to bring out the difference in feminist experiences between women. The workshop aimed to find strategies of working together and listening to each other in the context of intergenerational dialogue.
- Odette Falach Isha L'isha, Israel
- Sarai Aharoni Isha L'isha, Israel
Workshop Goals: This workshop sought to address the conflict between generations of feminists and to bring out the difference in feminist experiences between women. The workshop aimed to find strategies of working together and listening to each other in the context of intergenerational dialogue.
Background: The workshop began with each participant introducing themselves and their work or studies. The facilitators described their organization, Isha L'isha. The organization strives for multiculturalism and for Jewish/Arab co-existence empowerment. The facilitators described the difficulties that they encountered when they themselves, as young women, attempted to integrate into the more experienced feminist environment of Isha L'isha. To address this, the younger women organized amongst themselves a series of informal discussion groups at their homes where they discussed the concerns in their lives. From these concerns, the young women allowed their own agenda to develop. The critical point stressed by the facilitators is that the young women organized independently and by their own initiative. After determining their own agenda, the young women of Isha L'isha managed to form their own young women's bureau within the organization.
Issues that emerged: Through the facilitators' retelling of their own struggle to find a place within the organization, a safe space was created for participants to express their own struggles to find their place within the feminist movement. Some of the issues that emerged included: the need to bring young women, who do not identify themselves as feminists, into dialogues around women's rights; the isolation felt by older women who are new to the feminist movement; the ageism that older feminists are facing when trying to find a job; and how young women feel silenced due to their lack of experience among circles of more experienced feminists. All of the participants were very pleased to have an opportunity to be honest about their own uncertainties and insecurities in the feminist movement; it was reassuring to recognize that they were not alone in these feelings.
Suggestions: Using their own experience, and with input from the participants, the facilitators laid out a strategy to facilitate intergenerational dialogue in organizations. This strategy included three steps:
1. Be aware of the generational gap;
2. Take responsibility for raising your own issues and developing your own agenda;
3. Regularly pursue open and equal dialogue between generations.
In closing, it was noted that organizations that are inclusive to multiple generations will ultimately be able to be more inclusive generally because they will already have a framework in place for working with diversity and difference.
2002 AWID Forum, Session #122