Young feminists at the CSW need the Youth Collective to achieve gender equality 

Young feminists are coming together, everywhere to champion gender equality and to call for the upholding of their Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights. They are mobilising, taking action,sharing skills and challenging the status quo to advocate for their rights, albeit facing multiple crises, like the war in Gaza, political civil unrest and repressive laws that attempt to silence their voices. As the global manager of our biggest sexual rights program, called We lead at Restless Development, working directly with young girls and women who are often forgotten and traditionally marginalised,in hard contexts and sometimes facing life threatening situations, I am witnessing first hand, their remarkable Youth Power, everyday, as they come together to make positive change. 

Their Youth Power is the heartbeat of the Youth Collective

This March, we are taking this Youth Power and the Youth Collective to CSW 68, to reinforce this truth;

“More Young feminists need the Youth Collective!.” The 4 500 members who have joined us, are just the beginning!

With a five strong delegation, including the Co-CEO, Alex Kent, our Youngest Power Shifting Director, Yande Kalengo, Senior Youth Collective Coordinator and CSW Fellow, Moufeeda Haida, US Senior Partnerships Manager, Jessica and I; we are joining forces with over 15 young delegates from our We Lead and Walking the talk programs from MENA, Central America and Africa, to boldly remind world leaders in governments, private sectors and donors, that young leaders need the following five things:

RECOGNITION: The work of young feminists in their diversity  needs to be elevated and celebrated both in on and offline spaces as leaders in solving the world’s most pressing challenges. We have secured multiple spots for young people at CSW such as the CSW Youth Forum, The Feminist Bingo, The We lead Parallel event, among others,  to platform young girls  and women living with HIV, identifying as LBTQI, With Disability to share their perspectives, speak and influence the outcome  document.

PROTECTION: We will also be calling on world leaders to  strengthen mechanisms to  protect the protectors. Safety and security are serious concerns for young feminists around the world, both on and offline. We will be calling for stronger intergenerational solidarity, ensuring that young feminists are not alone as they take on some of the biggest issues on the frontline of democratic struggles.

NURTURING: We will be calling for increased investment in opportunities that enable “every” young feminist to learn and grow. This is through providing young feminists with opportunities for training and support to access context relevant mental health services and platforms for their voices to be amplified and heard.

CONNECTIONS: We will be inviting all young feminists at CSW to join the Youth Collective to connect with like minded allies to build solidarity and support. We will underline how young feminists are already connecting, but they should not feel like they’re on their own. They need intergenerational allies who are willing to open doors and provide resourcing, guidance and support. We will focus on connecting with and building strategic partnerships, leveraging events to spotlight youth power, and call for deepened connections for a thriving feminist youth collective. 

RESOURCING:  Most importantly and in line with this year’s theme of CSW, we will echo the findings of our State of Youth Civil Society. That Young feminists need access to resources. This includes channelling flexible, long term funding to diverse young feminist groups, trusting them with these resources and setting up simple, accessible ways of applying for and accessing this funding.In the margins of CSW, we will also relaunch our US Hub and the giving circle, uniting philanthropists, donors and funders to invest in feminist giving. I will be joining the Co- CEO, US Hub Chair, Barbara  Spitzer, and our New Senior Fundraising Manager, Jess, to share insights on what happens when you trust young people- the world becomes better, one person and one small act at a time. 

We will remind world leaders that uniting to take a stand on gender equality is long overdue. It is the right thing to do- it is not about creating another beautiful policy and outcome document. It is about making commitments that make the world more habitable and bearable for women and girls. It is about, challenging structural barriers and the male dominated status quo, that has failed young feminists and prohibited them from fully realising their potential. It is about seriously listening to young feminists, and taking action on their recommendations on how to achieve gender equality for everyone, everywhere. 

Join our feminist youth collective here to connect with other young feminists.

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Young feminists at the CSW need the Youth Collective to achieve gender equality 

by Primrose Manyalo Reading time: 3 min
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