Minnesota Women’s Consortium

“Build from the Inside Out”: Integrating Difference into Feminist Coalition Leadership

Current feminist discourse in academia, mainstream media, and the blogosphere shows evidence that leaders of long-standing, bureaucratically structured, feminist organizations in the U.S. struggle to build successful organizations and coalitions that speak to women of diverse backgrounds and are inclusive of the litany of issues that impact women’s lives. The increasing types of feminism and feminist movements and submovements indicate that mainstream feminist activism has been favored over the practices and analyses of historically marginalized women. This preference for the dominant culture not only permeates women’s history and feminist theory but also feminist organizational power structures and practices.

This workshop will explore challenges to feminist leaders in coalition building across difference as well as the conditions under which feminist coalition building across difference is most effective in creating a diverse and inclusive feminist movement.

Erin Parrish iErin Parrishs the Executive Director at the Minnesota Women’s Consortium. She received a Masters in Leadership from Augsburg College, with a focus on feminist leadership and coalition building across difference, and a B.A. in Women’s Studies from Hamline University. Erin authored the Minnesota Women’s Action Plan, Generations, encyclopedia entries on prominent women leaders, articles in the Minnesota Women’s Press, and co-authored “The Political Equality Club of Minneapolis: She Will Marvel that it Should be Possible,” an article in Minnesota History Quarterly about the first woman’s suffrage organization in Minnesota.

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