Winning the Internet

How a Gender Lens Can Help You Win

After a great run, the Winning the Internet blog has been retired. However, you can still keep in touch with New Media Mentors here.

Alicia Jay

Alicia Jay

As we get ready for Netroots Nation 2015, we’re taking a closer look at some of the convention’s most exciting training sessions. We’re interviewing the trainers and taking you inside some of online activism’s most popular and elusive topics.

Today we’re interviewing Alicia Jay of Make It Work, who’ll be leading How a Gender Lens Can Help You Win, with colleague Jordan Fitzgerald.

NN15 Training Session

How a Gender Lens Can Help You Win
Many multi-issue organizing groups, even some with impressive scale, work on issues that deeply impact women but don’t use an explicit gender lens in determining their strategies, messaging or policy asks. As a result, the unique needs, experiences and perspectives of women, especially women of color, often remain out of view and an enormous amount of potential is left on the table. Make It Work has developed an engaging and accessible set of tools and a training curriculum to help progressive organizations close this gap. We know that organizing with an intersectional gender lens is a powerful tool for change, and has the potential to significantly impact the reach and scale of organizing efforts. We’ll show you how.


Q: Tell us about yourself and your experience organizing with an intersectional gender lens.

A: I cut my teeth in the reproductive justice movement, organizing and training the next generation of leaders to look at the work through multiple lenses. The strength of the reproductive justice frame is that it engages individuals and communities in an intersectional way, acknowledging that none of us “lead single-issue lives.” Since then, I have carried that same approach through all of my work, in leadership development, civic engagement, philanthropy, and beyond. It’s such a powerful analysis that deepens and strengthens social change work – on any issue and in any sector.


Q: In your opinion, why don’t more organizations use a gender lens when developing strategies, messaging, etc?

A: I’m very encouraged by the number of organizations starting to integrate a gender analysis into all aspects of their work– they have seen incredible outcomes and wins as a result. But there is still a lot of work to be done. Sometimes, it can feel overwhelming to engage in an intersectional framework, like there are just too many communities and ‘isms to address. I understand that sentiment, and have come up against it myself at times. However, I think once organizations and leaders do a bit of work on the front-end to understand WHY and HOW a gender analysis can actually enhance organizing and civic engagement work, they will see it as a beneficial tool to build scale and increase impact.


Q: What are the two most important things to keep in mind when trying to plan campaigns using a gender lens?

A: 1) If you plan a campaign without teasing out and lifting up the experiences of working women, women of color, low-income women, and trans communities, your proposed solutions won’t really be meeting the needs of those most impacted, and you will be leaving a ton of opportunity on the table.

2) This isn’t just about analysis, it’s also about action! Using an intersectional gender analysis as a TOOL for engaging more people, and in a deeper way, is just smart organizing. We’ll show you how!


Q: Why should folks attend your session at Netroots Nation, and how can they connect with you?

A: Ultimately, this session is for those leaders and organizers who want to play a bigger game, and move beyond just chasing the ‘women’s vote’ to a place of sustained and meaningful change on behalf of those disproportionately impacted by the issues we all work on. We’ll show you how to apply an intersectional gender lens to any issue you might be working on, and exactly how to move from a place of analysis to action. This training will be a supportive learning laboratory for those at ALL LEVELS. Join us!
Twitter: @aliciasjay



To attend this training, or one of the 39 others at Netroots Nation 2015 in Phoenix, register now.

About Melissa Foley

Melissa is the Director of Training and Mentoring for Netroots Foundation and New Media Mentors. She aims to use her MBA + nonprofit background to teach organizations to use new media tools strategically.


Comments are closed.