Women’s Day: Be Bold for Change

International Women’s Day is March 8, and the theme of this year’s holiday is “Be Bold for Change.” The campaign challenges us to help forge a more inclusive, gender-equal world. In particular, it calls on people everywhere to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, challenge conscious and unconscious bias, promote gender-balanced leadership, value women and men’s contributions equally, and create flexible inclusive cultures. womens-day-2110797_1920

Although feminism and the psychology of women began with an emphasis on White, middle-class women, they have become much broader in recent years. Increasingly, scholarly work in this area focuses on the intersection of women’s multiple social identities, including race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, nationality, socioeconomic status, religion, ability, and age.

APA Books’ Psychology of Women series is designed to support and disseminate feminist scholarship that can improve the lives of women and other disempowered groups. The series explicitly seeks to promote a more diverse feminism.

A recent volume in the series, Womanist and Mujerista Psychologies: Voices of Fire, Acts of Courage, edited by Thema Bryant-Davis and Lillian Comas-Díaz, introduces the psychologies of womanists and mujeristas—African American women and Latinas, respectively, who have a broad and inclusive approach to feminism and liberation. Although the two psychologies differ (most notably in their racial and ethnic roots and histories of activism), they share an emphasis on spirituality and connection, creativity, self-definition, resiliency, and the liberation of all oppressed peoples. The book explores the thoughts, feelings, behavior, learning, and development of African American and Latina women and girls, the risks and traumas they frequently experience, as well as the unique cultural strengths that can help promote fulfillment and empowerment.

 

Open Pages: Womanist and Mujerista Psychology

APA Books Open Pages is an ongoing series in which we share interesting tidbits from current & upcoming books. Find the full list by browsing the Open Pages tag. Here, we check out the introduction of Womanist and Mujerista Psychologies: Voices of Fire, Acts of Courage to find out what, briefly, these lesser-known terms mean:

“The term womanist was coined by Walker (1983): ‘a Black feminist or feminist of color committed to the survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female. Not a separatist, except periodically for health’ (p. xi). In other words, in addition to centralizing survival and wholeness of women and men, a womanist does not create a hierarchy between the rights against racism and sexism but sees both of these fights as necessary and central. Womanism is a sociopolitical framework that centralizes race, gender, class, and sexuality as central markers of women’s lived experiences (Brown-Douglas, 1993). It moves beyond the compartmentalizing of Black women’s experience as is often seen in feminism and multiculturalism and moves toward an integrated perspective and analysis.” (pp. 5-6).

“As a construct, mujerismo (from the Spanish word mujer, meaning woman) emerged when Latina feminist theologians baptized themselves as mujeristas (Isasi-Diaz, 1994). Mujerismo is Latina womanism (Comas-Diaz, 2008; Meija et al., 2013; Ojeda, 2014). Indeed, the conceptual and political translation of womanist into Spanish is mujerista…like womanists, mujeristas embrace an interdisciplinary perspective. They endorse inclusion as an essential ingredient for the movement’s continual development. In this way, diverse voices are not only welcomed but also sought after.” (pp. 7-8).

 

Bryant-Davis, T., & Comas-Diaz, L. (2016). Womanist and Mujerista Psychologies: Voices of Fire, Acts of Courage. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.