International Youth Day

EWL celebrates International Youth Day 2021

“Young people are on the frontlines of the struggle to build a better future for all. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the dire need for the kind of transformational change they seek – and young people must be full partners in that effort.” - UN Secretary-General António Guterres

[Brussels, 12 August 2021] Each year on 12 August, we mark International Youth Day – an opportunity for the world leaders and society as a whole to draw attention to issues concerning young people worldwide.

As the largest umbrella of women’s organisations in Europe, the European Women’s Lobby decided to use this occasion to highlight the work our members do with and for young women and girls throughout the year. From mentorships and summer schools to activist groups and calls for legislation, EWL members’ actions recognise the importance of including young women in the feminist movement and centering their needs into our common goal of achieving an equal feminist Europe.

Below, we bring you inspiring stories of empowerment, intergenerational cooperation and solidarity from our members from Portugal, Bulgaria, Belgium, the Visegrad region and our European-wide members, BPW Europe.

1st National Gathering of Young Abolitionists

On the weekend of the 31st of July, the Portuguese Platform for Women’s Rights, EWL’s national coordination, held the first National Gathering of Young Abolitionists in Lisbon. This is an initiative within the context of the project "EXIT – Women’s human rights not to be prostituted.”

The gathering brought together young activists from all over the country, involved in the feminist movement and committed to ending all forms of male violence against women and girls. The young abolitionist activists shared their views and experiences, offered recommendations, and proposed concrete actions for the implementation of the Equality Model in Portugal. All activists participated and engaged in fruitful debates and offered insightful criticism to end the system of prostitution. It is of the utmost importance to engage the youth and give them space to act as agents of change, and EWL’s Portuguese members showed just how valuable these initiatives are.

Read more about the Gathering of Young Abolitionists here.

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Project "De Mulher para Mulher"

“De Mulher para Mulher” is a feminist mentorship project led by Rede, is a young women-led youth organization from Portugal, bringing together in pairs 30 young women (aged between 17-30) and their more experienced female mentors. Working with young women allows access to a different perspective, guided by diverse views on the themes inherent to women’s rights and equality between women and men.

Young women care and want to be part of the fight for social justice and decision-making, conscious that these decisions will have a huge impact not only on their present but also on their future. Inspired by their own communities and experiences, each of these young women creates an intervention project to work with other people and organisations in order to be part of the response against inequalities that affect the lives of many women, including themselves.

Read more about the fourth edition of the project “De Mulher para Mulher” here.

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Girls with Dreams: Let’s turn the page

Center Amalipe is the largest Roma organisation in Bulgaria and a member of the Bulgarian Platform of the European Women’s Lobby. It works towards better education, community development and equal integration of Roma in Bulgarian society. Empowerment of Roma women and girls and overcoming harmful traditional practices is a key priority for the organisation..

The topic of early marriages has always provoked discussions - both in the Roma community and among the rest of the population. Our Bulgarian members decided that the best agent of change would be the youth themselves so they organised a student competition "Girls with dreams: Let’s turn the page", in partnership with Zonta Club Stara Zagora.

Read more about the competition and see some of the inspiring work the students submitted, including a touching essay by the 14-year-old Yana Valentinova Marinova.


The Next Wave

What are young feminists concerned about and how can we best help them? That is a question our Belgian member De Vrouwenraad has been asking for some time. And who can answer that question better than young feminists themselves?

That is why they launched The Next Wave, a platform seeking to inspire young people to become more involved in feminism. From Feminist Labs to monthly Next Wave calls and a resource library, The Next Wave aims to equip the youth with the tools they need to engage in the feminist movement.

Explore The Next Wave platform available in French, English and Dutch here.

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Central European Feminist School

From 2 to 7 August 2021, EWL members from the Visegrad countries, in collaboration with their partners, hosted the 2nd Central European Feminist School. The school featured intergenerational dialogues between young feminists and senior experts to promote the exchange of ideas and experiences.

The 1st edition of the School proved to be successful as it attracted more interest among young people in the V4 countries than had been originally foreseen. It offered young people (including 3 young men) from the region the opportunity to exchange skills and knowledge and to strengthen feminist networks in the region. After the promising 1st edition, this year’s school aimed to further empower and bring inspiration for young women in the region.

Read more about the Central European Feminist School here.

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Young Business and Professional Women in Europe

BPW Europe, on of EWL’s European-wide members, recognises the importance of empowering young women in all areas of life and creating spaces for them to actively participate and engage. From thematic workshops and training seminars on Negotiation Skills, Personal Empowerment Program, Meetings with Senior Managers as Role Models, Leadership Trainings etc, to ensuring representation of young women in all levels of its governance, BPW Europe holds the investment in younger generations as one of its priorities.

Read more about Yasmin, Vice President of Young BPW UK, and listen to Selin, a gender equality activist and member of Young BPW Turkey, share her experience and enthusiasm before attending the Generation Equality Forum in Paris. Additionally, watch one of BPW Intergenerational Dialogues on “Leadership Essentials” or join the digital Leadership Training for Women taking place in November.

Learn more about how to engage with Young BPW and its leadership programmes for young women here.


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