The Everyday Feminist: A book review by Bob Morris

The Everyday Feminist: The Key to Sustainable Social Impact — Driving Movements We Need Now More than Ever
Latanya Mapp Frett
Wiley (March 2023)

What the unique and under-utilized power of collective feminism can accomplish every day

In this book, Latanya Mapp Frett invites her reader to explore “not only the monumental impact of the everyday feminist but also the opportunities to champion and support them in their drive to usher in the most profound social impact we’ve seen in modern history. Moreover, I will go into detail in the coming chapters how and why these women are the key to transformative social change yet continue to struggle for support and resources. You will hear from them directly, including their impact stories and how you can step up and show up for everyday feminists — anywhere they are making a  difference.”

These are among the categories of “driving movements” to which the book’s subtitle refers:

o Philanthropy (Foundations and Individuals)
o Governments (Bilateral and Multilateral Funding Arms)
o Corporations, For-Profit, or HYybrid Organizations, and ESG [Environmental, social, and governance] -Minded businesses
o Everyday Feminists, Women’s Funds, and Feminists Movements

Their “movement capacity” is best viewed as an ability to “cultivate and mobilize large numbers of the population in continued actions to challenge the status quo, building and sustaining public pressure toward their vision of the future. However different they may be in several respects, all of them function (to varying degree) within the same dimensions: a strong and sustained grassroots base; strong leadership; shared vision and narratives;  the infrastructure to support collective planning, action, and reflection; and finally, an ability to care for the well-being and safety of their members.

As indicated, Frett anchors her insights in everyday experiences, many of which are shared by women who discuss them “in their own words.” These guest contributors and their respective advocate organizations are Tarana Burke and the Me Too Movement (Pages 61-64), M. Adams and the Black Lives Matter Movement (72-75), Refiloe Harris and the Men Engage Movement (83-86), Hedwan Areaya and the Menstrual Movement (96-100) Miriam Miranda and the Indigenous Rights Movement (109-112), Leslye Obior and the Movement for Women’s Political Empowerment (121-125), Loretta Ross and the Reproductive Justice Movement (133)-139), and Purity Kagwiria and the Movement for Girls Education (147-150).

Sharing this material is what has in mind in “Make Gender Equality a Value, Not a Priority” — an article for the MIT Sloan Management Review — when she observes, “To instill gender equality as a value throughout a company, it’s important for organizations to tell the stories of women who have achieved leadership roles. Through acknowledging and discussing the barriers they had to overcome as well as the solutions to making those barriers disappear, new leaders can gain insights for creating better pathways for women. It doesn’t happen overnight. But as the energy sector’s record with safety shows, big change can happen.”

So much remains to be done to improve personal growth and professional development for everyone, whatever their gender may be. Paraphrasing Hillelel the Elder, “If not now, WHEN? If not everyday feminists and their allies, WHO?”


Posted in

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.