Women’s Day: Servane Mouazan, women’s advocate
Womanity: Who are you Servane and how did you come to collaborate with Womanity?
Servane Mouazan: I am a social entrepreneur, an enthused women’s advocate and social justice activist. My experience in incubating social businesses and amplifying the voice of activists at Ogunte.com brought me to collaborate with Womanity, and especially the Womanity Award. I ensure that award winners maximize their fund, think laterally, build and measure their impact, amplify their work through relevant connections and ideas, and importantly think in terms of sustainability. My role is oscillating between being a sports coach and a business coach! My key words: “Question, Stretch, Trust”
W: Tell us about the Womanity Award program?
SM: The award is an investment in funds and non-financial resources in a program or campaign aimed to prevent violence against women. We are sourcing programs that have been implemented successfully and that need to be adapted, replicated and localized by a partner organization somewhere else in the world. Womanity acts as the technical assistance provider, finance broker and coaching partner.
W: One question about the program you are asking yourself?
SM: If money wasn’t an issue, how could we build people’s capacity to join efforts across silos, across sectors, across gender, across cultures?
W: Did anything specific strike you, working with the Womanity Award winners?
SM: The second Womanity Award winners, Luchadoras and Association for Progressive Communications, are creating a movement to replicate Take Back the Tech, a campaign focused on online violence against women. It has been replicated in over 35 countries. To support women in this growing phenomenon of online violence, the Take Back the Tech! campaign disseminates very practical digital safety toolkits.
But what strikes me is that the campaign also encourages survivors, campaigning organizations, people working with survivors or moderating content online, to make self-care a priority.
Being submitted to abuse online has a detrimental impact on mental and physical health.
Far from being self-indulgent, self-care practices are a way to keep your sanity and your decision-making skills sharp, but also to recharge with significant others.
Siemprevivas, the newly formed collective replicating Take Back the Tech! in Mexico have included a physical self-defense module in the campaign.
Lulu Barrera, Luchadoras co-founder and member of Siemprevivas, said: “mastering self-defense actually contributes to policies of self-care and group care in the midst of a risky environment and violence against women on the streets in Mexico.”
This to me demonstrates how you can bridge on-line and off-line worlds and make an impact.
W: What would be a breakthrough for women’s safety and advocacy in the world?
SM: We have to be more human-centered and listen to women at the grassroots. We need more of them at the decision-making table. I also think it is not just a matter of more women on board, it is also about more women from different backgrounds on board.
From our work with the Womanity Award winners, we know that when media and Internet platforms respect and embrace women’s voices from diverse backgrounds, we discover a world that is rich in experiences, knowledge, a communal world. Everybody gains. No one should feel threatened by this realization.
We also know there have been enough studies around the world to prove that it is fundamental and impactful to include men in the reflection around gender peace building, or on how to end toxic masculine stereotypes. Promundo and the Men Engage Alliance are leading the conversation.
W: When you are not working on this program, what do you dedicate yourself to?
SM: Many of the ventures I am working on overlap. Besides having a gender lens, these ventures mainly focus on helping people to build capacity, strategies and resources to be impactful as social innovators, and work so well they eventually make themselves redundant. Sadly there’s more and more work to do. We need to stay vigilant and organized.
I also think that being an activist and a social entrepreneur is not a “job”, it is a vocation and a mindset you need 24/7 in your private life as well as your public and professional life.
But to answer your question concretely, I am finishing an anticipation fiction about women change makers, set in a near future. It keeps me on my toes!