I first met Gabriella last year at a conference in Aotea Centre, it turns out that she actually went to my sixth birthday and we attended the same primary school.
I first intended on making this interview a part of our soon to be released first newsletter.
However after reading what Gabriella had so eloquently said, I realised that it would be a disservice to not publish the entirety of this interview.
I’ll let her take it from here…
1. To you, what is a feminist?
The meaning of feminism is often misunderstood and subject to debate – an arguable result of historical prejudices trickling into current public awareness. Fundamentally, feminism advocates for the equity of all gender groups. I prefer the term intersectional feminism, however, because it recognises the need to consider other minorities in the fight for social equity. So, to answer your question, I believe that an intersectional feminist is someone who actively works to achieve justice for all social, cultural, and economic groups in society.
Happy Galentine’s Day to my gals and all the ladies out there who pack a punch! • To celebrate badass babes everywhere, and their rights, I designed a t-shirt with @theoutrageonline to benefit @plannedparenthood! 100% of the proceeds of this shirt go to the organization and will help them continue to serve millions of women, and men, every year. • Check out the link in my bio to get yours — there’s also a sweatshirt, bag, and more! — and make sure you follow @theoutrageonline for other activist gear + community organizing events too. • Thank you to all my babes for joining today, to @crubox for hosting us, @gee_garcia7 for being a great male ally + coach, and @sakaralife + @rethinkwater + @alfred for feeding and hydrating us after we broke the most intense sweat ever! 🥊💕🥊 #PunchThePatriarchy #GalentinesDay #BabesWhoBox #CruBox
2. What does Auckland Young Feminists aim to do?
Essentially, Auckland Young Feminists (AYF) is a non-profit that intends to foster a more equitable, inclusive, and empowering culture amongst our youth. We work directly with high school feminist clubs to support them in their pursuits. Furthermore, we enable collaboration/networking between such groups and other external organisations through public events and regular communication. We’re planning a feminist leadership event for next month (which is yet to be advertised) to reach out to high school students and encourage youth-led activism. Once our presence has been established in high schools through the creation of a feminist club network, we intend to offer opportunities for community activism and social justice projects. We’re a pretty new organisation so it’ll be interesting to see how our mahi unfolds this year!
3. What’s your role at Auckland Young Feminists?
I am the Co-founder, co-coordinator, and spokesperson [of AYF]. Since AYF is quite grassroots at this stage, our roles are pretty informal and flexible. We’ve got a team of incredibly passionate women from a variety of feminist organisations so our current model is to delegate tasks according to individual skills and connections. At the moment, I admin our Facebook page, communicate with other communities, and help plan/manage our future projects. I’m also creating an official website for the AYF which is set to launch in the next few weeks.
4. In this political climate, why is it important that we have a consistent discussion about feminism.
I’ll try to keep this short haha! Over the past few decades (let alone centuries), Western society has become increasingly individualised, commercialised and detached from current injustices. Whilst incredible progress has been made in the field of women’s rights, it’s easy to forget that such progress hasn’t been experienced by all. Socioeconomic inequality is growing at an exponential rate, with social minorities (such as women, Māori/Pasifika in Aotearoa, people with disability) being impacted most severely. Last year, a study released by Oxfam concluded that the top 10% of New Zealand households account for half of the country’s collective wealth whilst on the other end of the spectrum, the lower 40% of households account for a mere 3%. Some may argue that such a statistic isn’t relevant to feminism, however, it’s important to recognise the intersections between socioeconomics and gender issues (e.g. poverty and domestic abuse against women). To avoid complacency with a system still ridden with injustice, therefore, it’s vital that feminist conversations are consistently upheld and fostered. More than this, it’s crucial that such conversations are critical and encompassing of a wide range of perspectives – and not just those relevant to gender. That way, we can still celebrate feminist achievements whilst working to address current issues and advocate for marginalised communities.
So often, with our eurocentric westernised education – we are not taught about people of colour who advocated for equality // one being this monumental figure in NZ HISTORY: Meri Te Tai Mangakahia – in 1893 was the first woman to address parliament, she requested not only that Maori women be given the vote, but that they be eligible to sit in the Maori parliament. #wowee #trailblazer ✨❣️🍯
Find AYF on Instagram