My journey to this work
I am a feminist practitioner, working to redistribute resources to communities who are bravely and creatively resisting, reforming and reimagining alternatives to the current system.
My strength is in being the connective tissue between people and ideas. In being bold and creative to imagine new ways of doing things and to experiment fearlessly. At the heart of my work is ensuring the people impacted are leading in design and decision making. I take the time to ensure meaningful processes that move us closer to power-sharing, centering trust, accountability and joy.
My feminist politics are inspired by my mum, Vivien Johnson, who helped set up the first domestic violence refuge in Sydney and was the drummer in Australia's first all female punk band - Alias. As young as 6, my mum took me with her to the remote indigenous community Papunya in Australia, where I was privileged to learn from strong Aboriginal First Nations women leaders about their culture and history. I became acutely aware of the poverty, injustice and racism in Australia. This experience spurred my subsequent activism fighting for human rights, women and girls' rights and racial justice. It also grounded my interest in ancestral healing practices that I have continued to be connected to in Oaxaca, Mexico.
I grew up in Sydney, Australia, on Gadigal Land of the Eora Nation, and have lived in different parts of the world over the last decade, from Phnom Penh, Cambodia to Oaxaca, Mexico. Living in Mexico I worked in Ocosingo, Chiapas, and in Oaxaca, working alongside Indigenous women defending their land rights and ancestral healing practices.
Working with women's human rights defenders with UN Women in Cambodia, led me to Devi Leiper O’Malley, with whom I later became Co-Executive Director of FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund - the only global fund dedicated to resourcing young feminist organising. During 2013-2019 we grew the organisation from 1 to 25 staff, budget from 250,000 to 4.5 million USD, and the grantee partner community from 15 - 150 grassroots young feminist led groups in 100+ countries. We are currently documenting our experiences of co-leadership in a research project to be launched later this year.
I draw energy from the ocean and have immense respect for natural beauty, and a love for whales. For the last few years, I have been learning to read Tarot, and invest love into my writing, and have hopes of writing a feminist children's book soon! I currently have a Social Justice Consulting Practice and love what I do!
Ruby and Devi at the Money and Movements Conference, Naivasha, Kenya 2018
FRIDA Community at the Central Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central and North Asia (CEECCNA) Regional Convening in Tbilisi, Georgia, 2018
In this patriarchal capitalist world, we are often pitted against each other in competition rather than collaboration. My work seeks to challenge this, intentionally working in relationship with other people, centering open communication, accountability, and honesty. I aim to 'pollinate', build bridges and connect people wherever I can.
Some of the people I have collaborated with recently include Devi Leiper O’Malley, Swatee Deepak, Rosa Bransky, Boikanyo Modungwa, Angelika Artuyunova, Amy Babcheck, Katy Love, Cassie Denbow + many more.
I am currently in the process of setting up a new Initiative with a few of my closest friends. Stay tuned! To be launched in September 2021.
Boards + Advisories
Women's Fund Asia Australia, Board member
Comic Relief, Member of the Social Impact Committee
Girls & Adolescence Global Evidence (GAGE), ODI, Independent Advisory Group
"Ruby is a joy to work with - smart, creative, collaborative, and with a deep and embodied commitment to social justice. Ruby excels at holding space for collective processes, bringing diverse perspectives together and finding common paths forward. She has a sharp strategic eye and navigates through complexity to bring clarity to any challenge. Ruby enriches complex, sticky projects with her unique blend of humour, humanity and creativity. We have collaborated with Ruby on many projects. From strategy development processes, to facilitation, research and more. And have always wondered 'how would we have done this without her?'. I cannot recommend Ruby enough."