In November 2018, the international journal Gender & Development will examine the theme of Young Feminisms through the lens of gender equality and women’s rights. G&D is a unique journal: a forum for the sharing of analysis and experience between feminist activists involved in development research, policy, and practice. We particularly welcome contributions from the global South. For more information, visit www.genderanddevelopment.org.
As the world gets younger, the development sector is increasingly recognising young people as a force for change. Almost half of the world’s population is under the age of 25, with 90% living in low-income countries. Currently, governments, donors and companies are waking up to the ‘demographic dividend’, realising that young people’s energy and skills can be harnessed to help deliver existing development goals. This perpetuates, rather than challenges, the status quo. Young people are often pressed into service to combat factors seen as threatening development and security, such as youth unemployment and violent extremism. Yet few young people – and particularly young women – are involved in decision-making which shapes the agendas and policies that create and perpetuate poverty and inequality.
This issue of Gender & Development will take a feminist analysis of emerging youth and young women’s activism, exploring the potential to challenge the development ‘establishment’ and to critically assess unequal power and lack of diversity: by age, life-stage, gender, and race, among others. Currently, young feminists defending human rights and fighting for social justice are facing waves of violence as they challenge toxic, patriarchal power. They are charting a risky course to resist instrumentalisation and commercialisation, and further their vision of social justice.
Young feminist organisers are mobilising to change our world, in new spaces and using innovative tools and ways of working. Their strength, creativity and fresh perspectives are critical to the wider feminist and social justice movements. New and innovative ways of working are being trialled, and writers here will share their experiences.
If you are an activist, practitioner, or policymaker with experience to share, please send a paragraph outlining your proposed idea for the issue. If you are a researcher who has focused on such work, we would like to hear from you too. We are particularly interested in submissions from young people and youth activists. Ideas for articles include the following, but please suggest other ideas if they do not appear on the list
• Power and voice – how far do principles of youth participation and leadership guide and inform projects to support young women’s empowerment and leadership?
• Research – how are research projects being designed with, by and for young women, and what difference does this make?
• Young feminists mobilising against gender-based violence: sharing real-life case studies from different contexts.
• To what extent are development programmes which aim to reduce youth unemployment – or promote education/health/other service use among young people – integrating a concern to combat structural gender inequality and empower young women? Case studies from different contexts.
• Conflict – how are young women and men countering narratives of youth as drivers of violence and terrorism? How are they evolving methods to challenge dominant narratives of masculinity and femininity and support youth to reject conflict and violence?
• Young women are a key target demographic for development work aiming to challenge gender-unequal social norms. Feminist analyses of programming aiming to do this and the role of young feminists in challenging gender roles and generational hierarchies.
• Innovation – how are young feminists doing women’s rights activism in new ways (for example, through ICTs and non-formalised groups) and how can the development sector adapt to support these new movements?
• What role can different actors – development organisations, the private sector, governments – play in promoting young feminist activism without co-opting or commodifying their social movements, and without imposing traditional structures on new ways of campaigning?
• New generation, same gender divide? How are youth movements/organisations acknowledging and addressing sexism and gender inequality (including within their own movements)?
• How are established feminist organisations responding to the challenge from young feminists to give space and include them as equals in women’s rights movements? Case studies to share.
• Privilege in movements – how are diverse groups (e.g. LGBT, ethnic minorities, classes) supported within young feminist movements? How do young feminists bring a recognition of ‘white feminism’ and intersectionality into youth and feminist spaces?
Please send a paragraph outlining your proposed idea for an article for this issue, in an email (no attachments please) to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible and by 19th February 2018. Commissioned articles (of around 6,000 words) will need to be completed for a deadline of 18th May 2018. Guidelines for contributors can be found at www.genderanddevelopment.org