Female-identifying collectives are nothing new. But, lately it feels like there has been a real surge of fearless female voices surfacing as one.
Charged by campaigns such as #MeToo, #RepealThe8th, #FreePeriods (and more), these voices are leading conversations, not being controlled by them. They are articulate and clear, unafraid to do or say whatever they want and are hell-bent on ensuring other women can feel the same.
All over the world, these female collectives are forming and providing each other with support. Some are small, regional groups like London-based community gal-dem, who aim to diversify the faces, voices and experiences of women we currently see in the media. Others, like The WW Club are reaching across borders, connecting women IRL and online globally. Some, like Sisters Uncut, are adopting active and physical campaigning methods that have been likened to modern-day Suffragette techniques.
Although they differ in approach, they are all taking the onus off the individual. They highlight the importance of women working together and promote the change they are capable of achieving by doing so.
Below, we list some of our favourite collectives that advocate community over individualism and change over repetition.
Audrey Gelman, is the CEO and co-founder of The Wing, a women-only social club and co-working space. Established in 2016, The Wing opened in New York with just 200 members. Today, this community-centric club has several bases in America, which all operate to the same ends: “the advancement of women through community”.
The Wing offers up a variety of physical spaces, for women to collaborate creatively, professionally and emotionally. “We believe that the act of coming together as women creates new opportunities, ideas and conversations that will lead to greater mobility and prosperity for womankind,” explains Gelman. Constantly challenging patriarchal boardroom politics, The Wing offers up a space “for women with something to say and nothing to prove”.
“We are fighting for our right to live in safety. We are fighting for our lives”. Sisters Uncut are the feminist and gender-variant group who, standing with women affected or threatened by domestic violence, are pushing for the funding needed to assist specialist domestic violence services.
With two women a week dying at the hands of a current or former partner in England and Wales - and council budget cuts reducing significantly - Sisters Uncut are counteracting silence. “Survivors are being trapped in violent situations by councils refusing them housing. We demand access to safe and secure social housing for all, with priority to survivors,” they say.
Earlier this year, at the Suffragette London film-premiere, the collective occupied the red carpet in protest at cuts to domestic violence services, underlining their activism and fearlessness in the face of this.
Drawing on the tradition of working men’s clubs - which are inextricably linked to British culture, Phoebe Lovatt launched The WW, aka The Working Women’s Club. Bringing women together IRL and virtually (not to mention cross-continently), The WW Club is a place for women to meet, learn, hang out and network over a happy hour drink (or three).
Frustrated by the lack of female-only spaces in London, Lovatt took matters into her own hands: “I couldn't find anywhere to meet and work with like-minded women, I figured I should probably stop whining and do something about it. At the start of 2015, I decided to build a space - both physical and virtual - that I hoped would be a meeting ground/support network for working women in LA and beyond,” she says.
Women In Fashion
Competitive. Cut-throat. Ruthless. Sadly, these words often come in-hand with the fashion industry. Enter, Women in Fashion: a feminist non-profit organisation providing a refreshing community-centred antidote to damaging stereotypes.
Tackling issues such as diversity, representation of gender, age discrimination, sexism (and more), Women in Fashion offer up monthly support sessions for those who experience the pressures of the industry first-hand. From interns to editors, designers to writers, the sessions are confidential, inclusive and operate on a first-come, first-served, walk-in basis.
Next up? An art therapy session, that will encourage women to manage issues, together.