Quezon City, March 25 - The feminist movement in the Philippines is facing a crucial moment as senior feminist leaders retire, leaving the next generation of feminist leaders to navigate challenges in career, financial stability, and their place within the movement. To tackle these issues and concerns, INCITEGov, Every Woman, and the Young Feminist Collective piloted the first intergenerational conversation among fifteen young and senior feminist leaders.
"Brushstrokes of Sisterhood served as a safe space for participants to openly talk about their journey and struggles as women and paint their aspirations for a brighter feminist future. The activity was the first of a series of conversations across generations of feminists, encouraging peer-mentoring and collaboration.
The workshop facilitated an exchange of perspectives on the current and future state of the feminist movement in the Philippines. It created a supportive and empowering environment where feminists of all ages and backgrounds could share their personal stories and reflections on their feminist journey.
Feedback from the participants was overwhelmingly positive, with many expressing gratitude for the opportunity to connect with feminists across generations and share their experiences. "The activity was so enriching, healing, and an important part of movement building. More than just what we have to learn from the experiences of those who won victories before and for us, (...) the connection with our older sisters is a source of hope, strength, and joy." Cassie Deluria, a young feminist participant shared. "We are together not only in the struggle, but as importantly, in community and care," she added.
Aella Potestades, another young feminist expressed how the use of visual arts helped her take up space and open up during the conversation: "Sometimes it's difficult to have conversations with older activists and feminists because many fears conquer our minds(...)Generational gaps seem so daunting, but through the creative workshops, I realized that the shapes and colors of our stories seemed so similar. We want to fight for the same gender justice (...) It was an honor to be in the presence of such caring and powerful women." Cassie echoed this sentiment by sharing that "Art has the power to uncover more depth and texture that is not easily captured by simple speech and creates an artwork that becomes a meaningful keepsake you can go back to when you need some comfort or be reminded of what you learned."
The intergenerational conversation provided hope for the future of the feminist movement in the Philippines. "It is so reassuring that they will continue the resistance and fight for gender equality which had been our life's work," said Socorro Reyes, a senior feminist participant.
"There is hope in this young generation of feminists," added Aurora de Dios, another senior feminist participant. Joie, a YoungFem member emphasized that the young feminists will continue the work that they have started: "It's important for our feminist foremothers to see that we build our activism and scholarship on their hard-fought victories."
The organizers of "Brushstrokes of Sisterhood" plan to continue the conversation through various art forms and expand its participants to include feminist leaders across generations, including Gen X and Gen Zs, as well as those from the regions and various sectors. The project seeks to foster a sense of community and connection among feminists of different ages, backgrounds, and experiences and explore the ways in which intergenerational feminism can strengthen the movement and lead to more effective activism and advocacy.
As the torch is passed from one generation of feminists to the next, it is essential to have a supportive community and mentoring where needed. The future of feminist leadership in the Philippines may be at stake, but events like "Brushstrokes of Sisterhood" show that there is hope for a brighter feminist future. ##