Thursday, March 4, 2010

Maintaining Momentum: Shaping Global Reproductive Health Campaigns Post V-Day Events

For the month of February, many feminist groups work hard to put together V-Day events and productions of the Vagina Monologues. These are examples of cultural feminism on campus that can really bring critical issues to light and open important feminist conversations on campus about the oppression women face and the damaging implications of patriarchy. They awaken people to those realities and get them fired up.

But now it's March, and following the V-Day events, we hear from numerous student groups that they run into difficulty capitalizing on the momentum that V-Day can generate. Here at FMF, we've found that a really great way to catapult your group's activism into the stratosphere is through transforming that energy toward a campaign with political ramifications.

An example of a simple way to do this is to plan an event or initiative on campus for global women's reproductive health in the next few weeks. We've got some great campaign materials, and an upcoming webinar, that can help you! Because V-Day has a global focus and often global philanthrophy, it can be nice to follow that up with similarly themed activities to propel your group forward.

The key with this type of campaign is to refine the conversation. With something like V-Day, you've expanded your audience into the community and sparked their interest.

For organizers, the task remains to shift from a presentation of how things ARE for women at home and around the world, to a discussion of a student's role in affecting change for those very women. Armed with both renewed passion and enthusiasm AND the tools to really make a difference, your feminist group will benefit from the arrival of a crop of fantastic feminist activists.

Here's a Step by Step:

1) Select a focus for your campaign - maternal mortality, CEDAW, and International Family Planning are all good examples of some broad-reaching political campaigns that can bring some weight to what you're doing on campus.

2) Gather resources - Contact your Campus Organizer, and we can help! We also have some resources we could send your way - fact sheets, DVDs, and toolkits that could help you get started.

3) Call in backup - the cast, crew, and supporters of your V-Day events obviously care about feminism, so bring them back out! Get them involved and give them responsibilities so that they're invested in your campaign, too.

4) Design an Action Component - in addition to raising awareness, you should provide a mechanism for students to take action. Involve decisionmakers as best you can; either through call-in days to the Hill or district offices, letter writing, petitions, or visits. You could think big, too, and plan rallies and demonstrations.

5) Get press or media coverage - To add another level of pressure, place op-eds or letters to the editor, or get feminist press members to cover what you're doing in both campus and community outlets.

6) Kick off your campaign! - Ready, Set, Go! Launch on campus with a bang. Advertise and get started. At every event, be SURE to include that action component - it's what will set your events apart and make students keep coming back.

These are some of the basics, but if you have any questions, definitely get in touch with your campus organizer or email us at and we'd be happy to help you plan a Global Reproductive Health and Rights or similar campaign on your campus.

This article was featured in our March 2010 monthly Choices eZine. Sign up for our alerts to stay up-to-date with the latest feminist news and to receive the monthly eZine.

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