Young Feminist Wire Tue, 24 Oct 2017 15:01:22 -0400 en-US hourly 1 “The revolution will not be NGO-ised”: four lessons from African feminist organising Mon, 31 Jul 2017 17:02:46 +0000 African feminist movements are diverse. But we can, and must, learn from decades of transformational organising…

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African feminist movements are diverse. But we can, and must, learn from decades of transformational organising on the continent.

Participants at the Black Feminisms Forum in Brazil, 2016.Participants at the Black Feminisms Forum in Brazil, 2016. Photo: None on Record. As African feminists, we face multiple systems of oppression including the effects of colonisation, neocolonisation, white supremacy, militarism, the globalisation of capitalism and neoliberalism. Yet our movements are more vibrant and radically political than ever before.

We’ve subverted the erasure of women and gender nonconforming people from historical records. We’ve influenced public perception and policy. We’re grappling with the NGO-industrial complex and the depoliticisation of our movements. Recognition of the need to reconstruct solidarity across borders and generations is growing.

Our heterogenous social movements vary so much across regions, character, and impact that they almost resist categorisation. But there are crucial lessons we can – and must – learn from decades of transformational organising on the continent. Here are four:

1. Memorialise your champions, but remember your ‘anonymous’ leaders too

One of the functions of patriarchy is to erase women and gender nonconforming people from historical records. In light of this, creating and amplifying alternative archives becomes a radical act of resistance.

Spaces like the African Feminist Forum (AFF) have created opportunities for feminists from across Africa and its diaspora to connect and learn from one another, including the giants on whose shoulders we stand. The AFF recently launched a video series called “Voice, Power, and Soul”, putting faces and voices to vibrant movements on the continent.

‘fierce feminist leadership is mobilising across the continent’

Documenting notable people can risk erasing the collective power of lesser known figures. But there is growing recognition of the role of students and youth activists, gender nonconforming people, artivists, peasants and sex workers. From student-led protests in South Africa to feminist mobilisation against the ‘Kill the gays’ bill in Uganda, to resisting autocracy in Egypt, fierce feminist leadership is mobilising across the continent.

Participants at the Black Feminisms Forum.Participants at the Black Feminisms Forum, a global gathering of Afrodescendant artists and activists, in 2016 in Bahia, Brazil. Photo: None on Record.

2. The revolution will not be NGO-ised

The proliferation of NGOs and over-reliance on them as vehicles to carry forward feminist projects has in many places de-politicised what should be a transformative agenda. The political instrumentalisation and institutionalisation of movements through NGOs is subject to growing concern and critique.

An example is the focus on the (debatable) necessity of men’s participation in African feminist movements. This has shrunk resources for feminist movement building, and has compromised hard-won safe spaces, as women are pressured to include men in their organising.

Seeking transformative change, some African feminists are rejecting more traditional models and structures and are organising through informal and community-led collectives like Ikhtyar and HOLAAfrica!. The Internet has also become a huge tool to mobilise people and elevate voices in powerful new ways. If you don’t believe us, check out the #Afrifrem hashtag on Twitter.

“Black, African, Feminist: Occupying Your Space _ Read up on some of mythoughts #africanfeminist #afrifem #feminism #Africa #LaranjaMagazine

— DiversityWrites (@LuLu__Cooper) July 12, 2017

3. You can’t take the politics out of the struggle

From the 1990s, African feminists have taken movement claims from the streets to national decision-making bodies and beyond. They’ve negotiated with government representatives to commit to progressive conventions such as the “Maputo Protocol” on the rights of women, adopted by the African Union in 2003. Progressive campaigns have increased public and political attention to gender equality.

Now African feminists must grapple with state cooption of movement agendas and tools. Feminist scholar Awino Okech argues that a depoliticised focus on “gender” in international development has failed the African feminist movement as it aims for inclusionary politics rather than radical transformative gains. Women and feminist leaders joining government, only to end up as muted voices against state aggression, seems to be a deliberate consequence of “gender mainstreaming”.

‘African feminists must grapple with state cooption of movement agendas and tools’

African feminists have begun to recentre and repoliticise gender and development to its radical roots – and build new foundations for solidarity by politicising African feminism, speaking to commonalities without denying differences.

We saw this, for example, in the demands of young feminists in South Africa: #RhodesMustFall but #PatriarchyMustFall too. This created space for students to critically situate issues such as black feminism, pan-Africanism, gender and sexuality within campaigns to decolonise the education system and reframe education as a human right, not a commodity.

A participant at the Black Feminisms Forum.A participant at the Black Feminisms Forum in 2016 in Bahia, Brazil. Photo: None on Record.

4. Intersectionality, all day, every day

African feminist movements are robust. But ideological, generational and tactical differences have created divisions. In some cases, young, poor, trans, queer and sex worker movements have found themselves alienated from older, middle class, cisgendered, straight, and white-collar movements that enjoy more space and mainstream validation.

Deep intersectional organising and challenging intersecting systems of oppression like patriarchy and cis-heteronormativity is crucial to demonstrating solidarity and seeking transformation. We can no longer separate our struggles and this should be reflected in our strategies and demands which should intersect with various oppressions that feminists face. Liberation of one group of society should never be the basis of oppression of another.

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Statement Regarding Charges Against Human Rights Defender Evdokia Romanova Fri, 28 Jul 2017 17:24:50 +0000 Versión en español a continuación
Русская версия ниже
For Immediate Release
27 July 2017
On the…

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Versión en español a continuación

Русская версия ниже

For Immediate Release
27 July 2017

On the 26 July, 2017, Evdokia Romanova, a staff member at the LGBT rights organization Samara Regional Public LGBT Movement (“Avers”) and a member of the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, was called to the police department by governmental authorities where she was invited to submit a witness testimony. At the police department, the case investigator informed Evdokia that she is under police investigation for an administrative penalty (Part II of article 6.21) Code of Administrative Offenses (propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships by using social networks and Internet). She was then asked to sign the case protocol. Only after consultation with her lawyer was Evdokia allowed to read the case materials in question.

According to the case materials Evdokia is charged with sharing posts on her Facebook profile from the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights and The Guardian. The content of the posts was related to the topic of the human rights of LGBT people in Russia. Evdokia has rejected the charges and has refused to submit her testimony as a Defendant, according her Constitutional right (Article 51).

Avers supports Evdokia in her rejection of the charges. According to the position of Avers, there was no motivation in Evdokia’s actions to spread: “information that is shaping unconventional sexual attitudes”, “the attractiveness of non-traditional sexual relations”, a “distorted view of the social equivalence of traditional and non-traditional sexual relations”, or “the imposition of information on non-traditional sexual relations that causes interest in such relationships”. According to the position of governmental authorities, citizens are not restricted from speaking about the rights and freedoms of sexual minorities or sharing information about homosexuality. Discussion of these and all related issues are recognized and protected.

Avers believes that the attention from regional authorities towards Evdokia Romanova is a result of her human rights work and that the actions of the authorities are being done for the purpose of threatening her. These charges have no legal basis, and it is the hope of Avers that this case will not be supported by the court.

Avers is calling on friends and allies to show their support for Evdokia Romanova by opening a dialogue and space for public statements from regional and international human rights organizations. If you would like to support Evdokia Romanova, please send an e-mail Police Department in the Samara Region ( to tell them that you disagree with the accusations against her, based on Part 2 6.21 Code of Administrative Penalty (rus. ч. 2 ст. 6.21 Кодекса об административных правонарушениях). More details and actions to follow.

Версия на Русском

Сегодня днем сотруднице движения “Аверс”и международной организации Молодежная Коалиция за Сексуальне и Репродуктивные Права (Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights) Евдокии Романовой поступил звонок из полиции. Ее пригласили в отделение для дачи свидетельских показаний.

В отделении следователь сообщила о том, что в отношении Евдокии имеется административный материал по ч. 2 ст. 6.21 Кодекса об административных правонарушениях (пропаганда нетрадиционных сексуальных отношений среди несовершеннолетних с применением СМИ и сети Интернет) и нужно составить протокол.

Ознакомиться с материалами Евдокии дали только после звонка юристу. Оказалось, что основанием для проверки стали посты Евдокии в социальных сетях. На своей странице в facebook в 2015 и 2016 годах она делала репосты с англоязычных сайтов групп фэйсбука Молодежная Коалиция за Сексуальне и Репродуктивные Права по правозащитным проблемам ЛГБТ-сообществ.

Евдокия не согласилась в вмененным ей правонарушением, отказалась от дачи показаний, сославшись на 51 статью Конституции.

Движение “Аверс” считает, что в действиях Евдокии нет признаков вменяемого ей правонарушения, а именно распространения через социальные сети Интернет информации, направленной на формирование у несовершеннолетних нетрадиционных сексуальных установок, привлекательности нетрадиционных сексуальных отношений, искаженного представления о социальной равноценности традиционных и нетрадиционных сексуальных отношений, либо навязывание информации о нетрадиционных сексуальных отношениях, вызывающей интерес к таким отношениям.

Из позиций высших судебных инстанаций следует, что в России не запрещено обсуждение “прав и свобод сексуальных меньшинств”, признается и защищается “информирование” о гомосексуальности и обсуждение всех связанных с этим вопросов.

Считаем, что внимание местных правоохранительных органов к Евдокии связано с ее правозащитной деятельностью, выражается как давление и запугивание, не имеет законных оснований и не будет поддержано вышестоящими инстанциями.

Мы объявляем кампанию в поддержку Евдокии Романовой. Приглашаем высказаться международные и российские организации, коллег и заинтересованных лиц через телефонные, факсимильные, письменные и электронные обращения в правоохранительные органы города Самары и Самарской области.

Declaración sobre los Cargos contra la Defensora de Derechos Humanos Evdokia Romanova

El día 26 July, 2017, Evdokia Romanova, miembra del equipo de la organización LGBT Samara Regional Public LGBT Movement (“Avers”) y miembra de la Coalición de Jovenes por los Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos, fue llamada al departamento de policía por autoridades gubernamentales adonde se le requirió que presentara su testimonio. En el departamento policial, el investigador del caso informo a Evdokia que ella está bajo investigación policial por una pena administrativa (Parte II del articulo 6.21) de acuerdo al Código Administrativo de Ofensas (propaganda de relaciones sexuales no tradicionales a través de las redes sociales y el internet). Se le solicito que firmara un protocolo del caso. Solo después de que el abogado de Evdokia lo solicito le fue permitido leer la documentación del caso en cuestión.

De acuerdo a la documentación del caso Evdokia ha sido acusada por compartir publicaciones en su perfil de Facebook de la Coalición de Jovenes por los Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos y del diario The Guardian. El contenido de estas publicaciones están relacionadas a los derechos humanos de las personas LGBT en Rusia. Evdokia ha rechazado los cargos y se negó a entregar su testimonio como Acusada, de acuerdo a su derecho Constitucional (Articulo 51).

Avers apoya a Evdokia en su rechazo de los cargos. De acuerdo a la posición de Avers, no hay motivación en las acciones de Evdokia de difundir: “informacion que promueva actitudes sexuales no convencionales”, “la atracción a relaciones sexuales no tradicionales”, una “visión distorsionada que equivale las relaciones sexuales tradicionales con las no tradicionales”, o “la imposicion de información de relaciones sexuales no tradicionales que cause interés en ese tipo de relaciones”. De acuerdo a la posición de las autoridades gubernamentales, la ciudadanía no está restringida de hablar sobre los derechos y las libertades de las minorías sexuales o compartir información sobre homosexualidad.. La discusión de esto y todos los asuntos relacionados están reconocidos y protegidos.

Avers cree que la atención de las autoridades regionales hacia Evdokia Romanova es el resultado de su trabajo por los derechos humanos y las acciones que las autoridades tienen el propósito de amenazarla. Estos cargos no tienen base legal, y es la esperanza de Avers que este caso no sera apoyado por la corte.

Avers esta hacienda un llamado a amigos y aliados a mostrar su apoyo por Evdokia Romanova mediante la apertura del dialogo y de un espacio para declaraciones públicas de parte de organizaciones regionales e internacionales de derechos humanos. Si les gustaría apoyar a Evdokia Romanova, por favor enviar un correo al departamento de Policia de la región de Samara ( para mostrar su desacuerdo con las acusaciones en contra de ella, basado en la Parte 2 6.21 del Código Penal Administrativo (rus. ч. 2 ст. 6.21 Кодекса об административных правонарушениях).

Para circulación inmediata: 27 de Julio 2017

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Sexual rights and the internet: Third EROTICS global survey now launched! Mon, 24 Jul 2017 19:37:48 +0000 The EROTICS global survey is back! If you are an LGBTQI activist or sexual rights defender…

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The EROTICS global survey is back! If you are an LGBTQI activist or sexual rights defender who uses the internet to further your cause, we want to hear from you!

Your participation will help the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) to make sense of the latest trends concerning the opportunities and threats involved in expressing sexuality online.

The survey is available in English and Spanish, and will be open until 17 August. It will take 25 minutes of your time to contribute to greater understanding of the current issues faced by activists due to the fast-changing development of the internet.

We launched our first survey in 2013 and the second in 2014. These surveys have deepened our understanding of the ways sexual rights activists use the internet to advance their cause, and the challenges faced by the LGBTQI community in expressing their sexuality online.

This knowledge is crucial to assist in the development of strategies to support the work of APC and the EROTICS network, a global network of more than 50 activists, academics and organisations working on sexuality issues. The findings of the 2013 and 2014 surveys have resulted in, among others, the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression’s May 2015 report on encryption, anonymity and the human rights framework in digital communications. The findings also informed the UN’s first ever resolution on women human rights defenders in November 2013, with a paragraph on online violence against sexual rights activists.

What you can do to make this survey a success for us:

1. Take the survey.
2. Pass it on to individuals and organisations working on sexual rights issues.
3. Promote the survey on your blog or organisation website
4. Circulate it on your social media networks using the hashtag #eroticsurvey


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Primera Caravana Trans Migrante 2017 Thu, 20 Jul 2017 17:57:59 +0000 On July 20, 2017, more than 15 migrant youth from the LGBT community will be traveling…

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diversidad sin fronteras

On July 20, 2017, more than 15 migrant youth from the LGBT community will be traveling north in a caravan from Mexico City passing through Saltillo, Mexicali and turning themselves at the US port of entry in Nogales, AZ to request political asylum in the United States. They are all escaping from death threats, forced sexual labor, sexual assault, and discrimination from Central America.

Update: Press conference in Spanish about the Caravana.

Photo credit: Diversidad Sin Fronteras

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Join Frida’s first girl advisory committee – deadline July 20 Mon, 17 Jul 2017 14:21:58 +0000 Along with general advisory recruitment, this year FRIDA has committed to expand its Advisory Committee and…

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Along with general advisory recruitment, this year FRIDA has committed to expand its Advisory Committee and have one girl advisor from each region where FRIDA funds young feminist groups.FRIDA attempts to advance a meaningful girl participation in its governance as well as increase funding girl-led groups and more visibility of girl-led activism!

We are looking for young feminist activists

  • From 13-19 years old with at least one year experience and commitment to advancing girl’s rights, equality and non-discrimination and young feminist movement building.
  • Has an intermediate level of spoken and written English language skills or one other FRIDA language (French, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Mandarin or Arabic);

Specific responsibilities for girl advisory include: advising on girl issues and grantmaking process, regional and specific expertise, experience in partnership building and advocacy as well as capacity development of FRIDA’s grantee partners led by or working with girls.

How to apply?

If you wish to contribute in building and supporting young feminist leadership in the Global South, we invite you to submit a letter of interest (LOI) explaining your interest and what you would be bringing to FRIDA with your experience, expertise and knowledge. Please send your LOIs to no later than 20th July 2017. Sending your CV/resume alongside the cover letter is desirable, but not compulsory. We expect to learn more about the candidate from their LOIs.

Important: This is the first time FRIDA has attempted to do specific outreach for girl activists in order to expand its advisory committee and make it more diverse in its shape, structure and constituency. We hope to make decision making spaces more girl-friendly in the coming years and we hope to begin by starting to redesign our own advisory.

We urge you to email us at info with any comments, suggestions for improvement in making our call more accessible and inclusionary. We appreciate your feedback!

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Muslim teenager’s death being investigated as road rage, police say Tue, 20 Jun 2017 00:44:00 +0000 Mohmoud Hassanen tells Guardian his 17-year-old daughter, Nabra, who was killed on Sunday, that he does…

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Nabra Hassanen

Mohmoud Hassanen tells Guardian his 17-year-old daughter, Nabra, who was killed on Sunday, that he does not believe authorities’ version of events.

Police say the killing of a Muslim teenager near a mosque close to Washington DC is being investigated as a road rage incident.

But the father of Nabra Hassanen rejected detectives’ theory and said he believed his 17-year-old daughter was targeted because she was Muslim.

Nabra was with friends walking back from a McDonald’s in Sterling, Virginia, in the early hours of Sunday when they got into a dispute with a man in a car, according to police. Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, has been charged with her murder and is being held without bail pending a court appearance on 19 July.

To read the story in full, click here.

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Critical Feminist Perspectives on the Palestinian Prisoner Hunger Strike Fri, 26 May 2017 20:14:01 +0000 On April 17th, 1500 Palestinian prisoners launched the largest collective hunger strike in years under the…

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On April 17th, 1500 Palestinian prisoners launched the largest collective hunger strike in years under the banner of freedom and dignity. Since then, supporters of Palestine have been organizing events and protests around the world to strengthen and deepen solidarity around the hunger strike.

AWID interviewed Palestinian feminist activists to learn more about what the hunger strike means to them and what they want feminists around the world to know about the strike. Read their answers below.

There are currently 61 women and girls and 300 children in Israeli prisons. While men are often perceived as the sole leaders of the prisoners’ movement, Palestinian women political prisoners have also historically put their lives on the line and launched hunger strikes. Men are often received as heroes upon release, while women political prisoners, such as Lina Al-Jarbouny, face major difficulties in healing and reintegrating into society. As in many parts of the globe, the prison system in Israel is also profit-driven. G4S, the largest security company in the world, is part of that system and complicit with the violation of Palestinian prisoner rights.

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Better Speak: Solidarity in action, not in words Tue, 11 Apr 2017 19:33:38 +0000 Nayani Thiyagarajah is a filmmaker and storyteller who was invited to participate in a United Nations…

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Nayani Thiyagarajah is a filmmaker and storyteller who was invited to participate in a United Nations (UN) Women-organised festival to produce films around the theme of “The Personal is Political” during the  61st Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

Nayani previously spoke with AWID about her expectations, fears, excitement, and the importance of showing up. This is a second interview with Nayani after she participated in CSW. She talks about her experience at CSW, lack of youth representation, and the film she created during CSW,Better Speak.

AWID: Sooooo… how was CSW?

Nayani Thiyagarajah: It was really interesting! (laughs)

AWID: How so?

NT: Well, it is the UN, which goes without saying, and there’s a different way that the UN does things. I presented a workshop at the Youth Forum, and it was very interesting that the only time that the youth were involved was as representatives on panels, so it was a lot of adults talking to youth. I’d never experienced anything like that before. A lot of people from different member organizations took issue with having a “youth forum” that wasn’t representative of youth.

Also, because we were working on our films, not many of us (artists) had a chance to really take part in the CSW as much as we would have liked to because we were doing interviews, filming, and running around, so I think the moments that we found ourselves at the General Assembly or side events were when we were focusing on our work. I think the two weeks went by very quickly. It was an interesting experience and I met a lot of amazing people, which is always the case.

AWID: Could you tell us more about the workshop you presented?

NT: It was cool. Two of us came through AWID, including myself and Sandisiwe Dlamini. Other folks came through the YWCA and another group was sponsored by other organizations. We all talked about our work and how we use film as a tool for advocacy and social justice. Mine focused on the work that I’ve done on Shadeism and also some of the work I’ve done within the Tamil community as well as among Black and Indigenous and other women of colour, that being my primary focus, not only in my filmmaking, but within my team, other people with whom I work on projects, and core audiences. The way we do social advocacy is just by telling our stories. We see that as social advocacy, just the fact of taking up space on-screen is very political for us.

Also, other women co-facilitated the workshop, including Maria Ribeiro, a woman from Brazil. She talked about her work doing photography in Sao Paulo with women of different body types, shapes, sizes, and colours, without Photoshop. She had worked in the media industry for a long time, became sick of it, and decided to do this photo project.

There was also, Amaranta Fiquitiva Contreras, a woman from Bogota, Colombia, who had talked about the idea of using exactly what you have to create the films and documentation that you want to create. She affirmed that you don’t need a big fancy camera to do what you want to do. You can use the tools to which you have access to tell a story. So it was the three of us, from three different perspectives, talking about how we engage with film as a tool of advocacy and for social justice.

AWID: Speaking of which, we’re curious about your CSW film project. You’ve been somewhat secretive about it until now. How did that go?

NT: Ah yes! I think my ideas went in so many different ways. One of the questions that I had for myself, going into CSW was: “What does it mean for my body to take up space and be present, coming from where I come from and holding my multiple identities?” That question kept running through my head in the form of fragmented thoughts. I had tried to find different angles for the film. By chance, I had met various folks, Black and Indigenous, and other women of colour who were all from Scarborough, the east side of Toronto, just like me. It was interesting for all of us to find ourselves at CSW, and while we didn’t know each other, to have come from the same borough in Toronto and to have had similar experiences around our parents experiencing forced displacement due to war. I was initially going to interview two folks, including myself around what it means to be present at CSW as the children of refugees, especially given the current times, but as is the nature with film, especially documentary, things don’t always go as planned. The thought kept pushing through from the back of my mind, “What does it mean to be present at CSW?”

So I put the question out on Twitter because I thought that folks would reach out and would be interested in contributing. I got a lot more people than anticipated, and I ended up doing a lot of different interviews within the space of a day and a half, non-stop. It was with different women from different places around the world. I managed to speak with people from very different continents, and learned a lot about countries about which I didn’t really have a strong historical understanding.

They were all women who identify as feminist, and I got to ask them what it means for them to hold space at the UN. At first, I really wanted to focus on women of colour, but then there was a challenge to my notions about white women from different experiences. I interviewed a young woman from Croatia and learned a lot about her personal history, what her family had been through in Bosnia and Croatia. It seemed very different from what white folks in North America and Western Europe experience. She was  adamant about the differences between being from Eastern and Western Europe.

So I learned a lot of different perspectives, which really pushed my own boundaries even as a racialized body within Canada. I spoke to a young white woman from the Youth Coalition, who was very understanding of intersectionality, and so I was much in awe from talking to young feminists, seeing people’s commitments to intersectionality, and seeing them establish what their privileges were, as well as what their experiences were, and allowing space to hold multiple truths. It ended up being a short film featuring different voices of young feminists from around the world about what it means to be at CSW and the UN.

I noticed that we remained very careful and aware of that fine line, because in making the film we were not allowed to critique the UN or any specific government, so I had to be very careful in the editing stage, without taking away from what they were saying. It was a challenge, but I’m really glad that I was able to involve so many different voices. It spoke to a larger narrative of how aware we are of what’s going on in other parts of the world and how much solidarity exists. That came through beautifully with the women I was interviewing because they had actually known each other previously and had formed a bond from encounters in different places. I think that informed what they shared in the film. Everyone was political and had similar leanings. It was beautiful.

AWID: You mentioned restrictions on the type of film you could create for this festival. How did that affect your work?

NT: This is something I struggled with. In terms of the interviews, I didn’t censor people because people said their critiques. It was really difficult but I just wasn’t able to include them in the final film. It makes me upset because I think that they were necessary critiques that we are all engaging in, in some way.

At the same time, I understand that this comes back to the conversation around the nature of funding. Who funds your project, or your work, or your opportunities and how much control do they have around these opportunities? And it is not just this one experience, I think this is the nature of funding in general. For me, as an artist, I wonder about how do you balance between: “this is a great opportunity and I got to meet so many amazing people but I do feel censored because I wasn’t able to tell a story that I think would have been a more effective story and in the end would have been more beneficial for everybody.”

I was feeling stifled and disheartened with the process because it was the first time I ever felt like, someone was telling me I could or couldn’t do something and feeling like, I can’t cross that boundary because it is being funded. I think it is important to reflect on and question myself on which opportunities I will take in the future if I feel like I am being censored.

CSW61 : interviewwith women's rights activits by filmaler Nayani Thiyagarajah (610x470)
© Nayani Thiyagarajah

AWID: You mentioned the women you spoke to expressing a sense of solidarity. From the young feminist you interviewed for the film, what was it about solidarity that was important for them? Can you elaborate?

NT: I think the terms feminist and young feminist kept coming up, and this idea that there is a global network of feminists who are not just working towards a similar goal but are also really working hard to understand what each of them is fighting for or looking for at the CSW and beyond. And because they come from similar circles or organizations and had already been involved[in activism] or had met at prior CSWs, that had already created a network amongst them. So I feel like I had walked into a group that was preexisting.

It’s not so much that they said they were in solidarity with each other but you could sense it. They came to the interview together. One of the women, Marinella, gave up her hotel room so we could do the interviews, then another woman from the Phillipines, who is also a filmmaker, helped me shoot and made sure the sound was good.

So it wasn’t so much in conversation or using the word solidarity but that we were all there practicing solidarity. They took care of each other. Like, I got really sick during the interviews and Marinella had crackers and made sure I ate and she made sure I rested for a bit. You could just feel the solidarity energy and friendship amongst them. They roll together, they go to events together. If someone was speaking on a panel, the others would go to support at their specific event. They debriefed together. It was solidarity in action as opposed to talking about it.

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CSW61 Young Feminist Caucus Statement Wed, 29 Mar 2017 17:32:08 +0000 2017 Young Feminist Caucus Statement at the Sixty First Session of the Commission on the Status

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young feminist visions2017 Young Feminist Caucus Statement at the Sixty First Session of the Commission on the Status of Women

In March 2017, young feminists representing different youth-led and youth-serving civil society organizations from around the world came together at the 61st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations in New York. In a political climate of increasing conservatism, religious fundamentalism, and an aggressive rollback of the rights of women and marginalized people, young feminists gathered to share an alternative vision of a world that respects all genders and sexualities, upholds gender equality, and places human rights at the core of its mandate.

Download the full statement here


We are a diverse group of young feminist advocates, gathered in New York at the Sixty-First Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), working for gender, reproductive, economic, ecological, and social justice and political transformation. In this time of growing conservatism, massive youth unemployment and underemployment, rising global inequalities, and shrinking spaces for civil society, the theme of this current CSW, “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work,” could not be more prescient. Economic justice and equal opportunity is central to ensuring gender justice. Thus, governments must draw on the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and its review documents to mainstream a gender analysis that is youth-focused into all discussions of economics.

The economic empowerment of women, girls, and young people cannot be addressed without discussing the linkages between economics, bodily autonomy, sexuality, climate change, development, and multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination that negatively impact women, girls, and young people in diverse ways. Furthermore, young women and girls should not be instrumentalized as a tool for economic development; our human rights must be central to any discussion involving us and our economic empowerment. We strongly encourage the Commission to increase youth-friendly language that acknowledges the centrality of human rights for women throughout the life cycle, from girls to young women to women, in the Agreed Conclusions. We demand a holistic, cross-cutting, rights-based approach to the challenges that young people face around the  world today.

Therefore, at CSW61, we call on governments to implement the full list of youth key priorities below.

Macroeconomics and Trade

Rising global inequalities are a threat to the human rights of women, girls, and young people and are directly caused by macroeconomic policies such as conditional development lending, unenforced taxation and tax dodging, inequitable free trade agreements, deregulation, and extractivism. We call on governments to uphold their obligations to fulfill social and economic rights for all by investing in policies to transform economic realities, instead of offloading these responsibilities onto the private sector. Governments must ensure regulation around worker’s health and safety and hold corporations accountable for their actions throughout the global supply chain both in countries of operation and countries of registration.

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are critical to ensure economic empowerment for women, girls, and young people. By enabling youth to make well-informed decisions on our sexuality, including with whom to engage in sexual activity; if, whether, when and with whom to have children; and how to freely express our identity, youth are able to enact our right to full autonomy over our bodies as well as our universal right to health, empowering us to continue our education and work in the future. To ensure the fulfilment of all young people’s SRHR, we call on governments to:

  • Recognize — in policy, practice, and funding — the central role SRHR play in health equity, human rights, and development, while ensuring the inclusion of these rights in all national policies and emergency response strategies.
  • Legislate in a health-, rights- and evidence- based manner by repealing discriminatory laws and policies such as parental and spousal consent laws, laws that criminalize safe abortion, and laws that criminalize individuals on the basis of age, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, sexual practices, HIV status and transmission, and labor choices, including sex work.
  • Uphold comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) as a cross-cutting component to respect and guarantee the rights of all young people and push forward CSE programmes that are receptive to our needs.
  • Provide youth friendly, accessible, affordable and comprehensive SRHR services to all young people; including youth living in or fleeing from fragile and humanitarian/emergency settings.
  • Ensure that all SRHR-related service provision is youth- and adolescent- friendly, providing accessible spaces free from stigma and discrimination. These services should be tailored to the needs of young people and should be covered in a sensitive, holistic and non-discriminatory manner.

Multiple and Intersecting Identities and Discrimination

Our diversity is our strength, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to ensure economic empowerment for women, girls, and young people. We demand an end to all forms of discrimination, on the basis of age, sex, class, race, caste, ethnicity, geographical location, health status (including HIV and mental health status), ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, sex characteristics, marital status, parenthood, diverse forms of families, indigeneity, migrant or refugee status, and others. We recognize that youth experience multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and that all responses and policies to ensure gender equality and economic empowerment must tailor solutions to address the diverse identities youth hold. We call on partners and allies, including men, boys, older generations, faith and traditional leaders, to support the diverse youth-led and women-led movements and organizations in the fight for gender equality and economic justice.

Climate Change and Justice

The future of women’s and young people’s paid and unpaid work will be irrevocably changed by the existence and escalating threats of climate change. The current growth-led economic model directly contributes to climate change and the associated violations of human rights that disproportionately affect women, girls, and young people. We call for a just and equitable transition to sustainable energy and industries that challenge the gendered division of labour, recognising that women often work in low emissions yet low waged, insecure and informal employment, including subsistence farming, service industries and domestic, care and sex work. We demand that governments recognize that ever-growing numbers of women, girls, and young people will be displaced by climate change and related conflicts and pushed into the informal sector as migrants and refugees; thus, states must commit to providing services and creating policies that protect, respect, and fulfill their human rights. Finally, a just and equitable transition must prioritize an equitable redistribution of resources, including land, property, sustainable and environmentally safe development, technology, capital, and finance, including divestment from fossil fuels and reinvestment into renewable resources and community-based solutions that mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Meaningful Youth Participation

Young people, all with our own different skillsets and capabilities, have the fundamental right to meaningfully and fully participate in all decision-making processes. Meaningful youth participation should be particularly prioritized when creating programs or policies that have a direct impact on our lives, including peacebuilding and conflict prevention. Therefore we urge Member States to include meaningful youth participation in all stages of decision-making: during formulation, development, implementation and evaluation of laws policies, plans and budgets. To ensure meaningful and equitable youth participation, governments must provide access to accurate information and non-formal training, including through the use of appropriate and accessible media and information-communication technology, which will build and attain certain professional skills for employability. We call on Member States to provide technical and financial support to youth and to prioritize sustainable, flexible funding for youth-led organizations to fully develop our potential.


We urge the implementation of policies that actively promote skills-training opportunities for women, girls and young people, irrespective of gender, to foster our economic emancipation and workplace inclusion. Governments must prioritize the education of young women, adolescents and girls and strengthen policies and programmes that ensure equal access to longitudinal education for all young people. We emphasize the importance of gender inclusive and accessible quality education with relevant curricula, including CSE and mentorship and skills development, which will prepare young women, adolescents, and girls for decent work, equitable employment opportunities, and entrepreneurship. We urge governments to train educators on gender-sensitive policies and practices to end discrimination and stigma in academic settings.

Employment and Labour Rights

Economic independence and equal rights to economic resources are fundamental for women, girls and young people’s empowerment. We demand that governments uphold labour rights, including the right to collective bargaining, the guarantee of a living wage, paid parental, vacation, and sick leave, worker’s compensation, and overtime pay. These legal and social protections must be extended to workers, including migrants and those working in low waged, insecure and informal employment, including subsistence farming, service industries, domestic, care and sex work. Governments must recognize that women and young people disproportionately make up the workforce of these precarious sectors and take urgent action to ensure their safety, including by preventing sexual harassment and violence in the workforce.  We insist that governments enforce equal pay for equal work and encourage equitable gender representation in all professions, specialities and leadership positions and ensure that young women and girls do not bear the burden of unpaid care work. Governments must also support the development and use of accessible and appropriate information and communications technology as a resource for the economic empowerment of youth including young women. Lastly the crisis of vast youth unemployment and underemployment must be urgently addressed, as it causes young women and marginalized groups to be disproportionately and unjustly affected and left behind.

Gender-Based Violence

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a violation of human rights and a significant barrier to women’s, girls’, and young people’s economic empowerment. We demand that Member States strengthen their response to GBV, putting into action the measures outlined in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Governments should pass laws to make sexual coercion and domestic violence illegal and should provide survivors of GBV with safe, affordable, accessible, and youth-friendly health services, including mental health services and sexual and reproductive health services, including safe abortion. Furthermore, governments should commit to public education to raise awareness on GBV and promote strategies to address and prevent it. Governments must develop and strengthen mechanisms including the use of media monitoring to combat the use of information and communications technology and social media to perpetrate violence against women and girls, including its criminal misuse for sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, child sexual abuse material and trafficking in women and girls, as well as emerging forms of violence such as cyberstalking, cyberbullying, and privacy violations that compromise the safety of women and girls and undermine our ability to benefit from the use of information and communication technology and social media. We further urge governments to introduce policies to protect young feminist activists and human rights defenders, and to bring perpetrators of violence and discrimination to justice.


In order for women, girls and young people to be economically empowered, we believe it is necessary to fully integrate all the above priorities across all implementation strategies including the Sustainable Development Goals, ILO conventions, ICPD Program of Action, Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and binding human rights treaties. Each process must be monitored with data disaggregated by gender and age and other necessary information in order to monitor inequalities and discrimination across intersectional identities. We urgently call on governments to create opportunities for meaningful youth participation in decision-making processes and policies to ensure our priorities are heard and implemented. Technical and financial support, including flexible, core and long term funding, must be provided for youth led organisations at the local and international level.

Rising inequality, climate change, and regressive policies are transforming the world of work for young people. While progress has been made on gender equality, immense obstacles remain. Furthermore, many young people do not have the opportunities older generations  had for secure employment, fair labour protections, and civil society engagement. The global concentration of wealth and power, closely linked to the global erosion of democracy, equality, and justice, critically endanger the future of today’s youth – our future. We as young feminists reject the message that we are unimportant, inexperienced, and naive, or that we are merely instruments for countries to maximize growth and profit for a few at the expense of many. We are powerful rights-holders willing to fight to implement the above priorities that together make up our #YoungFeministVisions of a just, equitable, and compassionate world.

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AWID in solidarity with Mozn Hassan and Nazra for Feminist Studies in Egypt Mon, 27 Mar 2017 18:11:43 +0000 Last Saturday, on 25 March 2017, AWID alongside other international organizations, attended a special Right Livelihood…

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Last Saturday, on 25 March 2017, AWID alongside other international organizations, attended a special Right Livelihood Award ceremony in Cairo where Mozn Hassan was  honoured  “for asserting the equality and rights of women in circumstances where they are subject to ongoing violence, abuse and discrimination.”

Mozn Hassan is an Egyptian women’s human rights defender and executive director of Nazra for Feminist Studies.


© WHRD-IC Mozn Hassan

For over a decade, Mozn and Nazra have been part of building a strong Egyptian feminist movement that fights against gender-based violence in public spaces, supports women human rights defenders, and advocates for women’s participation and inclusion in political spheres in Egypt. Mozn has also been a part of regional efforts to provide consistent and strengthened responses for women who are at risk due to their activism.

Since 2015, Mozn has been one of a number of Egyptian feminists targeted for her work defending women’s rights and officially banned from travelling outside of Egypt since June 2016. In January 2017, Mozn’s assets and that of Nazra for Feminist Studies have been frozen and she now faces the unjust possibility of life in prison.

In response to the escalating restrictions, Nazra for Feminist Studies says “The future we dream of for women in Egypt is far from realized, we will continue to work for it, for a better life for Egyptian women, and for the sustainability of a strong and independent Egyptian feminist movement.”

In September 2016, Mozn and Nazra won the Right Livelihood Award, widely referred to as the ‘alternative Nobel Prize’, in recognition of her groundbreaking feminist activism in Egypt.

Due to the travel ban imposed on her, Mozn was unable to attend the ceremony to receive her award on November 25, 2016 in Stockholm.

AWID’s presence at the award ceremony in Cairo was a show of solidarity with Mozn, Nazra and all feminist activists in Egypt at this time of rising rights violations and an affirmation of its commitment to transnational feminist organizing and allyship against global patriarchy. AWID condemns the constant harassment and persecution of Mozn Hassan, Nazra for Feminist Studies and the larger Egyptian civil society in Case 173. AWID demands that the Egyptian government immediately close the politically motivated Case 173 of 2011 and end the harassment of human rights defenders and their organizations.

“AWID is proud to be associated with Mozn Hassan and Nazra for Feminist Studies. Their feminist human rights advocacy is essential to ensure that women in Egypt enjoy lives free from gender-based violence and discrimination,” said AWID’s co-executive directors, Cindy Clark and Hakima Abbas.

At the awards ceremony, Mozn stated:  “having someone from AWID at the Right Livelihood Award Ceremony in Cairo in a time when Nazra and myself are targeted is a manifestation of AWID’s continued and genuine exercise of the value of feminist solidarity.”

Join us in expressing your solidarity with Mozn Hassan and Nazra for Feminist Studies

Tweet a message of solidarity.

I #PracticeSolidarity with the founder and director of @NazraEgypt. Drop all charges against @Mozn! TWEET THIS
The Egyptian government must stop targeting @NazraEgypt and other WHRDs. Drop all charges against @Mozn! TWEET THIS
Women Human Rights Defenders are NOT criminals! Drop all charges against @Mozn from @NazraEgypt #NGOSNotCriminals TWEET THIS

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