Mozn Hassan at UN: “Invest in girls and young women networks”
The international community must invest in developing local women’s rights organisations, especially those led by girls and young women, feminist activist and Right Livelihood Laureate Mozn Hassan told the UN Human Rights Council on Friday.
Addressing the 50th session of the Council in person in Geneva, Hassan drew attention to the hurdles faced by feminist organisations operating worldwide.
As the founder of the Doria Feminist Fund, which supports women’s rights groups in the Middle East-North Africa region, she said it was crucial for such groups to develop their activism and identify their priorities independently.
“However, their work is still severely obstructed by conservative family values and gender norms, and activists are often affected by a social and political backlash, including at the risk of their own safety,” Hassan said.
— Right Livelihood (@rightlivelihood) June 17, 2022
This means that women’s rights groups often have to rely on foreign funding for their operations.
“Yet, instead of ensuring meaningful and effective participation of local activists, these funds are often implemented through a top-down approach,” Hassan added.
To truly empower local women’s networks, international donors must provide funding in a way that respects organisational autonomy, she noted.
She also called for international actors to promote civil society engagement of young women activists and take an intersectional gendered approach when planning foreign aid.
Hassan received the 2016 Right Livelihood Award “for asserting the equality and rights of women in circumstances where they are subject to ongoing violence, abuse and discrimination.” Her work included documenting sexual abuse during Egypt’s 2011 revolution. Currently, she’s focusing on strengthening local feminist movements across the Middle East-North Africa region.