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Beijing Unfettered: the Power of Young Feminist Movements

In September 2020, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action celebrated its 25th birthday, in a global process called Beijing+25 and better known as Generation Equality Forum, organized by UN Women.

In these past 25 years, feminist, women’s rights, LGBTQI and social justice movements have had wins and setbacks, successes and challenges, and many lessons along the way. One thing remained unchanged: the power, creativity and resilience of our movements.

Young feminists have been and will keep being an inspiration for feminists movements around the world. Their creativity, radical and transformative agendas and messages, their organising and rallying power, make them the centre of AWID’s conversation around the Generation Equality Forum. The Young Feminist Manifesto published in March 2021, calling for meaningful and substantive youth participation in the process, and proposing a bold vision for the Generation Equality Forum, is a must read.

It is in this spirit that AWID invites you to Beijing Unfettered! 

Beijing Unfettered is about young feminist movements across the globe articulating and documenting our bold and propositional feminist visions and agendas, unfettered from restrictions endemic to formal policy processes.

Beijing+25 is more than a historic milestone and a broad convergence of feminist and gender justice movements. It is the time to shift our thinking and action, an opportunity to leave behind strategies that are not working anymore, and to consolidate visionary, bold and propositional agendas, while centering voices and leadership of young feminists.

In partnership with young feminist activists and youth-led organizations, AWID co-organized Beijing Unfettered in parallel to and independently from Beijing+25. As a primarily movement-led process, Beijing Unfettered reflected on current contexts and articulated radical perspectives on transformative changes, as well as feminist realities that are created, lived and practiced by young feminists, particularly in the Global South.

Beijing Unfettered Workshops

AWID organised virtual and in-person Beijing Unfettered workshops in partnership with young feminist activists and youth-led organisations to reflect on current contexts and articulate radical voices, visions and agendas of young feminist organizers.

Collective thinking, dreaming, imagining and exchange among young feminists was synthesized and transformed into the Beijing Unfettered Trello board - Young Feminist Agendas In Making.

Visions and demands developed through the participatory processes at Beijing Unfettered Workshops are AWID's offering to young feminist movements as a resource and a tool for building solidarity and action.

If you are a young feminist organiser, this board is for you! Feel free to use these visions and demands, as well as attached graphics for your activism for your advocacy and communications efforts on national, regional and global levels, as well as social media campaigns, awareness-raising and knowledge building.

Organize your own Beijing Unfettered Workshop

Here you can find English, Spanish and French. versions of Beijing Unfettered Workshop methodology for online meetings.

Stay connected! Become an AWID member.

By joining AWID, you are becoming part of worldwide feminist organizing, a collective power that is rooted in working across movements and is based on solidarity.

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Here are some reflections and visions shared by the Young Feminists who participated in the Beijing Unfettered process

👉  Learn more about the young feminist visions, propositions and agendas, as well as about the Beijing Unfettered methodology on our Trello board. 

Collage artist - El Crío (Twitter | Instagram

The Young Feminists who participated in the Beijing Unfettered process demand we build intersectional cross-movement agendas

Beijing Unfettered Collage by El Crío

📍 Create horizontal alliances without repeating cis-hetero-patriarchal patterns and power dynamics, and reflect on the power structures and oppressions within feminist movements itself. We have to move away from individualistic approaches and strengthen collective organizing;

📍 Be mindful about Eurocentric feminism and recognise that our realities are different, yet our struggles are interconnected. Hence, we should engage in dialogues and learn about political agendas of different social justice movements, and visibilize that our struggles are interrelated;

📍 Get involved with groups, movements and spaces that may not be named as ‘feminist’, but are anti-patriarchal, anti-capitalist, anti-militarist, supporting environmental sustainability and are community-led;

Young feminists demand people-centered multilateralism and political systems.

Beijing Unfettered Collage by El Crío

📍 Multilateralism - the international political system - must centers people, their voices, ideas and visions. Intersectional and cross-issue analysis is centered in decision-making. There is a consistent collective reflection and power analysis on who leads conversations.

📍 There is a clear and comprehensible structure to organize the international political system, and common people have a good understanding of all stakeholders, decision-making processes and systems of governance. People have a clear understanding of decision-making mechanisms, and how to participate.

📍There are functional mechanisms for people to make interventions, influence decisions and change the system. There are strong and intentional processes, infrastructure and culture of transparency and accountability towards the people.

Philanthropy needs to provide better support for young feminist organizing in light of ongoing multiple crises, from soaring economic inequalities to climate crisis.

Beijing Unfettered Collage by El Crío - Philanthropy

📍 Do not make assumptions about young feminists. Be ready to think outside the box and open to non-conventional, non-traditional strategies and tactics - as clearly the conventional and traditional methods are insufficient to truly change our world. Philanthropy should not be afraid of radical approaches and political work of young feminist movements.

📍Flexible communications and mutual learning spaces are needed for a meaningful relationship building between funders and young feminist activists. For mutual trust; transparency and accountability systems are essential to provide clarity on how resources are distributed and how they are generated.

📍Provide core, flexible and unrestricted funding that supports young feminists with pursuing their agendas. Ensure accessible and light-weight application and reporting processes. Build multi-year partnerships that allow long-term planning and strategic work.

Young feminists demands to policy makers for bodily autonomy and integrity, gender identity, sexuality and pleasure

Beijing Unfettered Collage by El Crío - policy makers for bodily autonomy

📍To eradicate multilayered and systemic oppression of our bodies and choices, perspectives on gender and sexual diversity must be brought into the policymaking process and eliminate laws that control our bodies

📍 Young girls, women, LGBTQI+ community and people with disabilities must have access to free and safe, stigma-free, accessible and quality health-care services, including sexual and reproductive services and gender affirmation care;

📍Acknowledge that health and climate change are intertwined, and center the needs of Indigenous and frontline communities, migrants and refugees, and others most affected by climate injustices and environmental crisis.