The first study of global young feminist organizing was conducted from 2014 to 2016, by The Young Feminist Fund (FRIDA) and AWID’s Young Feminist Activism Program. [i]Most of the 1,500 organizations are from Sub-Saharan Africa (41%), Latin America and Caribbean (25%), and Asia and Pacific (16%). The survey found that 91% the young feminist organizations struggle with funding as their main problem. Half of the organizations had incomes under $5,000 in 2014 and 46% had no paid staff. Few are funded by local and national governments. Only one-sixth of them have existed for more than 10 years and most are small. Examples of groups are a radio show run by young women in Nepal, Beyond Borders uses art to empower feminism in Armenia, CHOUF works for LBT women in Tunisia, and Salud Mujeres educates for access to abortion in Ecuador.
The young feminist groups often use majority rule (71%) and consensus (45%) organizing methods, but 38% report the leader of the organization makes decisions based on advice from the group and 23% rely on their board of directors (respondents listed more than one answer). Africans are more likely to rely on boards of directors and membership groups. The groups use innovative intersectional strategies, including “colorful and creative” “artivism” (art, theater, film, graffiti, social media, street mobilizations, school occupations, and so on) and street mobilization to assist their peers. The most common strategies for changemaking are advocacy and lobbying (71%), education and training (61%), and “awareness raising” (51%). More than half of the respondents said they often feel unsafe because of their work, faced with backlash against feminism and religious fundamentalism (54%) (especially in MENA and Asia-Pacific), opposition from governments (39%), police (38%), community authorities (36%), and organized crime (23%). Only 12% had difficulty working with older generations.
The activists’ goals are first to build knowledge and share information and second to build leadership and movements, rather than to provide services. They usually collaborate with other social movements and generations, but 47% are not officially registered. The four populations they focus on helping are like the organizers themsleves, in this order, grassroots women, women human rights defenders, students, and LGBTQI. Some of their issues are violence against women (55%, a problem across all regions), sexual and reproductive rights (52%), empowering women politically and economically (56%), and access to education (18%). Other concerns are climate justice, sex workers, LGBTQI, indigenous people, and disability rights. (Africans are most likely to mention AIDs.)