Denise en Lorraine namen deel aan het Young Feminist Weekend van de NVR in oktober 2020 en delen in onderstaande 'blogs' hun ervaringen.
Denise Sarfo: "It is extremely valuable to be able to connect with others"
2020 was an intense year for many of us. We were faced with a global pandemic and new restrictions which forced us to create and imagine a new reality for ourselves; all in the span of a year. This was also the case for the Young Feminist Weekend 2020. The format needed to be changed due to Covid-19 and the subsequent restrictions. Though the Young Feminist Weekend 2020 could not take place in its usual format we, as young feminists, were still able to build a community, develop and foster connections with each other. The organizing team was able to reinvent the Young Feminist Weekend and provide us with a series of online sessions via Zoom which enabled us to come together to share our experiences and learn.
It is extremely valuable to be able to connect with others, especially with those who share similar desires to achieve women’s equality and share ideas, experiences and knowledge through peer workshops and team up and work together. This is even more valuable during a time where we are faced with social restrictions which might make it challenging to connect with others. Though Covid-19 has rendered public life to a halt, feminist issues continue to exist and in many cases have exacerbated as a result of Covid-19 and the subsequent measures. Therefore, our work as feminists does not come to a halt during this period, and platforms such as Young Feminist Weekend are of great value and importance during this time. The online sessions that replaced the Young Feminist Weekend each had a different focus point. We discussed the ways in which our feminist activism takes place, how to create long lasting change but also how we can create inner change. We shared our thoughts, experiences and visions and most importantly listened to each other. Furthermore, we had the opportunity to attend online workshops covering various subject matters such as men and gender equality, lobbying and policy influencing. Luckily, we enjoyed the privilege of still being able to connect with each other to discuss important feminist issues. In this regard, it’s important to recognise our privilege in possessing the tools and means to still be able to come together virtual space and use this as a motivation to think of ways in which we might serve others during this time.
Lorraine: "I was sad that I missed out in 2019, but made sure that I would not miss out on #YFW2020"
I was first introduced to the Young Feminist Weekend (YFW) in 2019, when I read the summary of last year’s participants on social media. I was sad that I missed out on something that was really up in my ally. To make sure that I would not miss out on the next one, I made sure to follow “De Nederlandse Vrouwen Raad (NVR)” on all my social media platforms. Hard work pays off, because I was part of #YFW2020. Even though our much anticipated Young Feminist Weekend had to change in format, due to the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic, we were able to meet online. For many of us the online sessions were something to look forward to. However before we were able to meet, all the participants had to write their own bios and look up a "Badass Feminist". Although the group of young feminists was quite diverse we all had the same goal: finding ways to connect and build meaningful connections among feminists.
Our first gathering started with a brief introduction to the NVR and its 120th anniversary. The main focus was on intersectionality and we were able to discuss this topic in small groups. This resulted in interesting findings for instance; that it is a term that might help to start conversations and may highlight blind spots. Yet at the same time, it may also stand in the way of starting these same conversations, because there a so many different dimensions to consider.
Our second YFW gathering was all about workshops. One was given by UN Women Netherlands director and former MEP Marije Cornelissen on the history of feminism; Feminist waves and what is currently happening in this sphere. It was quite shocking for instance that there was no women’s suffrage in Switzerland up until 1979! The workshop given by Jan Reynders (MenEngage) was on the impact of gender on feminism, manly the role and the need of ally ship; first step is a save space and a listening environment that is inclusive. Last but not least were the workshops that were given by our peers.
Our third and final session included another workshop and an open space gathering. What was nice about the open space, was that there were 4 topics going on at the same time and at any given time you were free to join another one. Harvesting it was called; the topic was the flower and us the participants’ were the bees or the farmers. The open atmosphere was really inspiring and has led to a continuation of the weekend with extra sessions and a live event to wrap YFW up in 2021!