Stories of Girls’ Resistance

Power to the people!

From consciousness to comradery to collective action

Power to the people!

From consciousness to comradery to collective action

In secret gatherings, in schools, on the streets, in savings clubs, on factory floors and in friendship groupings, girls are gathering with other girls and with older allies.

Just as the survival of girls is so often linked to the reality of collective community, so too is her resistance. Throughout the stories a number of the girls’ first moments of resistance is when they engage in public protest or moments of collective organising. As they step into their power in formation with others, they come to see the fullness of their power as political actors and with that their ability to reshape the world around them. Whilst for a great many girls entering collective organising space is a natural part of her resistance journey, for other girls it is through contact with collective action that her resistance begins. No matter her entry point, girls’ relationship with collective organising is conflicted and contradictory – and as we can hear so viscerally in the stories – full of the possibility and power needed to change the world.

The women at Freedom Corner, I listened to them and I think if you were to summarise the amount of wisdom and brilliance that was at Freedom Corner, a tank for 20 thousand cubic litres would not be enough to store that volume of wisdom and brilliance that the women had at Freedom Corner. But also the courage – bravery. For me those women redefined me, sharpened me.

Naomi
Kenya

I think about what different groups of people are doing and different movements. That’s the whole point. That for me is collective power and I’ve always been in support of that. It’s like each person is holding this stick of fire and when you have your small stick of fire, it can feel so small, like you’re not doing very much. And it’s like, if you’re trying to warm yourself up, it’s like, oh, it’s just a small fire. But imagine every single person holding a stick of fire just putting it all together and this big flame — we’ll all probably be burned by it because it’s so powerful. I think it’s important that we stand in solidarity with one another, no matter which region you’re focusing on, whatever issue, at the end of the day, you care about. We’re human beings and we care about each other and that’s collective power. It’s what really makes a difference and brings about the change that I think we’ve been talking about.

Glodie
United States of America

The networks of… there were no networks of girls. Well, I was more in mixed networks, until feminism. They supported me, that is, they made me feel that that loneliness that was there could be shared with others, that others talked about the same ideas, dreamed of the same things. We dreamed of another Nicaragua, the whole network of children who were there. I do not know why or at what time we believed that the materialisation of laws would mean an improvement in the lives of children. We were super convinced. We threw ourselves into the street very young, when I say that, it means that we were marching, organising marches in the neighbourhoods, at the age of 12, 13, with banners, shouting and we believed that it was, that in reality it would materialise, the change in favour of the kids. It helped me, I told you that as a child I thought the neighbourhood was the world, it helped me to understand that it wasn’t, it helped me to understand that there was a Chinandega that I didn’t know; an urban Chinandega. It helped me to understand that there was a city, a Managua, a Central America, a South America and that in South America there were other María Josés who worked exactly more or less for the same thing and it helped me to understand that I was not the only one and that we were a lot, that we were a lot.

María José
Nicaragua

I was young, I had lots of anger and energy. We were so angry, after a week of sit in protest in centre of Kathmandu, we decided to go and protest in front of restricted zone in ‘Singadurbar’ (the ministries) because we felt like the decision makers and leaders were not listening to our sit in protest therefore we decided to go in front of the main entrance of ministries and make ourselves visible and we did it. We had confrontation with security force. I was afraid but at the same time my anger gave me energy. Our protest was widely covered by national and international media.

Dipa
Nepal

I started connecting with people, I started joining different groups, and I started to believe that I cannot be doing this by myself on my own. Because as much as it’s part of me and I love it, and this is how I define myself, it’s also draining. It’s exhausting. A person needs a sense of belonging to a group and a community. So they can carry on with their autonomy and they can continue to nourish and evolve as people.

Anonymous
Occupied Palestine

I started to look around. Who is up to organise something. I know my friends will not do this and I will never ask them because they love this regime and I know that. So I was like – oh my god, I need to find people to work with, I need to find groups. I started to look around and I found actually – I found a lot of groups, I met a lot of people who all of them right now are my best friends. We started to organise demonstrations in the street and other peaceful activities like distribute flowers with a small letter – what the demonstrations are for, what is our demand, what is our request, why we are doing this? We aren’t people who want to destroy the country, we’re people who want to build this country.

Ahed
Syria

Why I was just starting out in the activism work, and the party that guides the country of Poland right now, was gaining the power and the power dynamics in Poland changed a lot; which ended up in a series of abortion rights protests for example, the black protests became quite famous, and this was the biggest thing that I remember. And it happened, I’m trying to remember the date, but it was influenced by the changes that were being pushed to the government to totally ban abortion, even in cases that were threatening the life of the woman; which was really scary. So I think in 2016, people came to the streets, and I was 17 at the time, and it was really both terrifying but I think it was also the first time in which I experienced a sense of community with all of the other women in Poland because it was such a big movement. It kind of transformed my views of many things, because I have never experienced it before.

Anonymous
Poland

Because if you’re a part of an organization as an ordinary member, that’s one thing. But when you have to sit down in terms of the planning and the organisation and the creation of something, you realise just how necessary all these parts are. The team, everybody and how you can’t do anything alone. And if I really want to make, have any form of resistance and activism, it has to be through working with others at all times.

Jahnelle
Antigua and Barbuda

Solidarity, for me, is supporting one another and not seeing each other as competition. This is a struggle in our movements, especially with organisations and groups that are working on similar themes. Hence, solidarity would be putting personal interests aside and working together towards a common goal…I think there is power in solidarity. When women come together, we are unstoppable.

Musu
The Gambia