In celebration of womxn all around the globe, we have decided to put the focus on femxle-owned projects from within our extended family. In our first round, we would like to give the platform to ROOTS Berlin, a Berlin-based group focussed on building a sustainable community that connects the dots between the BIPoC community by offering different workshops centered around mutual aid and collective solidarity. But we’d rather let Ola, Fily, and Naima do the talking, which is why we’ve asked them to introduce their project and share their views on womxnhood.
Roots: The idea to work together came to us, Ola, Fily, and Naima, last year in summer. One of the main reasons was the intensity of the past year. During the 2020 BLM movement, we personally felt collective solidarity in our community for the first time, which motivated us to continue working on sustainable community-building projects.
Together with four wonderful women of color who support us in graphic design, project management, conception, and pedagogy, we are beyond grateful for our all-female team! Through our work, we aim to create spaces that foster exchange, networking, and enable the BIPoC community to come together. Currently, we are creating these spaces by offering Healing Circle for Women of Color and by implementing identity and consciousness-raising creative formats.
We have made it our goal to work internally according to the principle of Mutual Aid in order to authentically reflect it externally as well. It is a principle in which we no longer imagine ourselves as individual brands, consumers or entrepreneurs in endless competition, but as a collective connected by compassion, cooperation and the spirit of participatory democracy.
What is your definition of womanhood?
Naima: To me womanhood means the celebration of all women, the recognition and acceptance of all our differences and our sacred sensitivity, empathy and strength.
Ola: Something which can’t be measured in degrees (having bigger breasts, giving birth doesn’t make you more of a woman). Womanhood is more like a state of mind, something which comes from within.
What empowers you as a woman?
Fily: Seeing other women thrive and support each other as well as growing beyond our conditioning and bias against each other – learning to understand and appreciate each other the way we are with all of our insecurities.
Ola: Using my privilege to stand up for myself and other fellow women and being unapologetic for who WE are, what WE want, and what WE deserve. Coming together with other women, creating, healing, growing, and shining with them.
As women tend to be excluded from public narratives, which stories of women would you like to hear or share more?
Fily: I would like for people to talk about the role men play in feminism and how men can be the allies we need to actively dismantle patriarchy, the objectification, and oppression of women. I would also like to hear more about how men and women can heal together and take better care of each other.
Naima: I would love to see more women, especially women of color, in leadership positions, in competitive sports, in popular movie productions, and so on. I want their stories to tell the world what they have achieved without the narrative being focused on their gender but rather on their greatness.
Ola: More FEMPOWERMENT. Seeing more women of color in powerful Communities of women who help one another succeed. If men don’t want to offer us a chair at their table, we need to build our own tables- ours will be more beautifully decked anyways.
Can you name a moment that made you realize what the power of a woman is?
Fily: Its many moments where I see my mother, sister in law or nieces take charge and step up in order to fight back against unjust situations or simply in order to give more space for emotions, understanding and finding wholesome solutions for any given problem.
Naima: I especially see the power of a woman by looking at my mum and other friends who are single mothers. They give their children endless love and support, even though they are often very exhausted, under pressure, and overloaded with work. They don’t get enough support from the state. These women keep on going and they raise their children to strong beautiful souls.
What are the main challenges that you face as a woman in our society?
Fily: Being given honest and solid opportunities without being used as a token is something I rarely experience. I want to be seen for who I am apart from my looks and what people come to expect from me – solely based on what boxes they put me in without feeling the need to actually get to know me and what I am about as a person.
Naima: The fact that in a lot of countries we still don’t have the same rights as men and to know that just because we’re women, we’re facing a mountain of challenges is per se a pretty big challenge. For me personally, the main challenge is that I often feel the pressure to perform better, to do more, to not be too emotional because I might be the one pushing the stigma of us women being too sensitive or weak. But in the end, I know that our sensitivity is our true strength.
Ola: Being an independent woman – living in a man’s world. Being sexually harassed on a daily basis.
We are hosting a Joy Session this Sunday, March 14 at 7 PM. The session will be hosted in collaboration with @wildmindfulwoman and will circle around giving space to the meaning of joy and gratitude in the midst of our hectic daily lives. Sign up via DM (@rootsbrln)