Medea Khmelidze stands before young women from across Europe and Central Asia. Her peers speak over 15 different native languages; all are under the age of 30.
“I looked around the room at the power, talent and intelligence of the group of women around me, and thought to myself, ‘Wow, we make a very powerful and somewhat intimidating force’,” Khmelidze of Georgia wrote in her blog for the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID).
Khmelidze was one of 36 women who attended a two-day convening of the Young Women’s Dialogue on Resource Mobilization and Movement Building in Tbilisi, Georgia in October 2010.
Supported in part by Global Fund for Women, and organized by AWID, this gathering was one of the first meetings of its kind in the region; a precursor to AWID’s Regional Strategy Meeting on Resource Mobilization for Women’s Rights. The ambitious agenda included: gender-based violence, LGBT rights, women’s political participation, sex education and feminist research production.
“I sat amongst young, determined, confident, and very talented women. It makes me inspired to know that many young women are out there organizing on similar issues as mine,” wrote Khmelidze. Since the 1990s, through numerous challenges, women-led groups in Eastern Europe and Central Asia have become a force for advancing gender equality and justice. So much so, that established feminist activists collaborate with a vibrant community of young activists to challenge and advance the feminist agenda.
By supporting these gatherings, the Global Fund helps give activists the space to strategize together. After the meeting, the young women left with the understanding that human resources, connections and volunteers are as important as financial resources.
“The power is in the diversity, and with diversity comes new knowledge and new truths,” Khmelidze blogged.
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