Friday, March 26, 2010

National Young Feminist Leadership Conference Day 1 Recap!

This post cross-posted on The Undomestic Goddess

I spent this past weekend in DC at the National Young Feminist Leadership Conference hosted by the Feminist Majority Foundation, and I'm still on an activism high. Not only was I happy to meet some other members of the NOW-NYS Young Feminist Task Force and feminist Twitter friends in the flesh for the first time, but it was energizing to be surrounded by passionate and smart young women looking to make a difference in this world. From the opening remarks, the auditorium became fired up over health care and the reiteration that our generation is indeed NOT indifferent to the issues around us. And it just got better from there.

The first session I attended was on International Family Planning Access as a Basic Right which focused on the United Nations' Millennium Development goals. These include reducing the maternal mortality rate by 3/4 and achieving universal access to reproductive health and family planning by 2015, as well as improving maternal health worldwide. The panel defined sexual health as encompassing physical, mental and social well being as well as having the access to make choices on said sexual health. They also spoke about the international confusion on Obama's repeal of the Global Gag Rule (and how we desperately need to make its removal permanent), and the need for the US to show the world the way on international women's rights.

The next panel I attended was on the appropriations process in legislation, mainly because I know so little about it, and considering all that goes into the process, I have great respect for all those involved making sure that money mandated in legislation gets to where it needs to go. In general, women and women's organizations never ask for enough money, so know your worth and not only ask but FIGHT for it!

The conference then convened with former President of NOW and current VP of FMF Kim Gandy, Andrea Camp and Gail Cohen of the Joint Economic Committee of the US Congress (follow them @jointeconcmte), and Latifa Lyles of the US Dept of Labor Women's Bureau to talk about Women, Jobs and the Economy. They explained how while men have lost more jobs in this recession (er, "he"cession, anyone?), they're also gaining them back whereas women aren't (unlike past recessions, where they actually had much to gain) and that we need to make sure women are prioritized in any recovery act.

I had to leave early the following day so unfortunately missed out on what looked like a great panel on women in media and a closing note from Shelby Knox, but I remain inspired by those conversations with other young leaders, be it in a more structured conference setting or over drinks or on a long car ride home, that reminds me WHY we do what we do, and gives us the fuel to keep going.

Feeling inspired to attend a feminist conference? The NOW Northeast Regional Conference will be held in April in Albany, and the National NOW conference will be held in Boston this year over the 4th of July weekend - sign up today and get your activism on. And also be sure to check out the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance's photos from this past weekend!

Posted by: Amanda ReCupido of The Undomestic Goddess

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