The 2024 National Young Feminist Leadership Conference mobilizes hundreds of student activists

The weekend of March 23rd, hundreds of young feminists from all over the country gathered for the Feminist Majority Foundation’s 2024 National Young Feminist Leadership Conference. This annual event, which had been paused due to COVID-19, was eagerly anticipated by young activists. More than 250 young feminists and 70 speakers made their way to Washington D.C. for a series of panels, skills workshops, and discussions focused on feminism and social justice issues.

FMF President Ellie Smeal introduces speakers at the General Assembly.

The conference kicked off with a General Assembly featuring incredible feminist leaders including former Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, NOW President Christian Nunes, ERA Coalition President Zakiya Thomas, VA House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, Pandia Health founder Dr. Sophia Yen, Afghan women’s rights activist Dr. Sima Samar, legal scholar Michele Goodwin, and Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights founder Dr. Lauren Beene. 

NYFLC drew participants from both high school and college, with everyone contributing unique perspectives to the strategies for mobilizing the feminist movement. NYFLC panels covered everything from the importance of the ERA to the harsh reality of gender apartheid in Afghanistan and attendees gained tangible skills surrounding voter mobilization, digital organizing, and defending abortion clinics from extremists.

Student activists share their activism pledges on stage with FMF Executive Director, Kathy Spillar.

Student leaders also took the stage, from DePaul University activist Maya Roman highlighting comprehensive sex education post-Dobbs to the Young Feminist Party discussing the importance of youth advocacy for the ERA. Amidst the serious discussions, there were also moments of levity with a feminist comedy night on Saturday and special events like a raffle for Dr. Sophia Yen’s iconic condom tote bag.

Drs. Lauren Beene and Sophia Yen highlighted the importance of accessible birth control and contraceptives.

On Congressional Visit Day, students engaged with their representatives on critical issues in their districts. After a congressional breakfast and briefing, conference attendees were able to visit the offices of their representatives to bring awareness to pertinent issues in their district and demand action. Attendees learned the importance of effectively using their voice on the Hill, as well as how to effectively network in a political environment.

Finally, the conference wrapped up with a lunch at the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality Monument, where Park Ranger Susan Philpot highlighted the legacy of the Suffragettes and Alice Paul’s work for gender equality. Overall, the conference was a much needed source of inspiration, enthusiasm, and meaningful connections as attendees returned to their campuses fired up and ready to implement what they had learned.

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