Language Justice

What do we mean by ‘language justice’?

WomenStrong understands language justice to be a process, rather than a goal to be achieved at a certain time. By saying “process,” we admit that there are barriers to achieving ideal multilingual spaces; budget and time constraints are examples, and many more challenges exist. 

As a small nonprofit, we set the process in motion by speaking with our partners about which languages we use in our Learning Lab, to make it a functional multilingual space. Such a space is one in which two or more languages and cultures are integrated into the programming; in our case, we offer interpretation from English into French and Spanish, or from these languages into English if needed.

As we grow, our language offerings should follow suit—and we now hire interpreters to help if a language other than our three is requested by our partners.

Our practice of fostering access and creating inclusive multilingual spaces for ourselves and our partners assures everyone that their voices and ideas can be heard. When our employees and grantee partners can communicate in their own languages, more of their staff and clients can take part in Learning Lab activities.

Our Commitments 

WomenStrong builds gender equality by partnering with grassroots women-led organizations to achieve lasting change for the girls and women they serve. We see a language justice program as integral to cultivating equity while enabling community among ourselves and our Learning Lab partners. 

Our commitment to language justice includes ensuring that we support the following, along with other needs we discover during the process of implementation:

  • Participants choose the language they speak in group settings.
  • Our facilitators and/or presenters choose to speak the languages they feel comfortable speaking.
  • We make the written materials (articles, handouts, notes, and visual materials, such as slides, flipcharts, or the like) shared in the Learning Lab available in all WomenStrong languages.
  • We include and use the cultural references and customs represented by each cultural group in the room. 
  • We seek to hire multilingual WomenStrong staff and consultants.

To learn more and to gather ideas for promoting language justice and equity in your own organization, please consult the following:

Q-and-A with Hannah Barrueta Sacksteder, WomenStrong’s Program & Equity Manager and Lead for Language Justice (French | Spanish)

Learning Lab Principles on Partner Engagement 

About WomenStrong International

WomenStrong International provides trust-based funding, capacity strengthening, and a peer learning community to grantee partners addressing some of the most critical needs of women and girls: keeping girls in school, accessing lifesaving reproductive health care, preventing gender-based violence, and creating pathways to economic security. Learn More