The Next Generation of Leaders

We know that a strong leadership pipeline is essential for lasting women’s rights movements. We are thrilled that in FY2017, 42 Global Fund for Women grantee partners in 25 countries reported advances toward developing cadres of young women leaders. A few highlights include:

  • 20 trans activists from 11 countries trained in leadership and advocacy by the Trans Coalition in the Post-Soviet Region.
  • The creation of a new young women’s leadership network by Grupo de Mujeres Ixchel in Guatemala that uses blogging and social media to spur action in local communities for women’s rights.
  • A new grant for Association Malienne pour la Promotion de la Jeune Fille et de la Femme (AMPJF), a young-women-led group in Mali, to address gender-based violence in schools, including to establish “vigilance committees” in partner schools, organize a day of advocacy with religious organizations against child marriage, and train young women leaders on key international laws for women’s human rights.


“A young woman leader should build solidarity and believe in sisterhood. She should have love inside her for humanity and the passion to grow a movement for the empowerment of women in every aspect.”
—Iffat Ara Arna, young woman leader working with Naripokkho in Bangladesh

What is possible when young women have mentors to guide them? Knowing that young women leaders face unique challenges—and have unique perspectives—Global Fund for Women launched the South Asia Young Women’s Leadership and Mentoring Initiative in FY2017.

In collaboration with our partner organization CREA, a feminist human rights organization based in India, and with funding from the Kendeda Fund, we designed an innovative three-year, $2.9 million initiative to support and strengthen the leadership of young women in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal. The goal? To foster a new generation of women eager to shake up the patriarchy across South Asia. Working with 30 women-led groups across the region, we paired young women with established women’s rights activist mentors, then brought them together for a week-long training on feminist leadership and movement building. Since then, the young women have received regular coaching and are developing plans to collaborate with other young women in their communities.

The initiative creates opportunities for young women to build their potential, realize their unique vision and voice, and forge bonds with their sisters in the movement, so they can lead efforts for movement building and social transformation. With the current women’s movement leadership supporting them, this new cohort of young women leaders will carry the women’s movement forward in South Asia for years to come.