Skip to main content
Newsroom Press release

Open Society Foundations Announce Young Feminist Leaders Fellows

NEW YORK—The Open Society Foundations announced today the 2019 cohort of the Young Feminist Leaders Fellows, a new initiative to support emerging feminist leaders between the ages of 22 and 30. The six fellows will receive grants to carry out projects that contribute to advancing open society values, women’s rights, and gender justice in Latin America.

“Around the world, feminist, queer, and youth movements are on the frontlines pushing back against patriarchal, authoritarian governments. In Latin America, some of the most audacious ideas for social change are coming from the hearts and minds of young people,” said Kavita N. Ramdas, director of the Open Society Women’s Rights Program. “These dynamic feminist fellows are just getting started, and we are proud to support their growth in the movement.”

Among this year’s fellows are an artist and domestic worker based in Mexico City who will make a podcast about labor rights for domestic workers, and a human geographer who will research the forms of violence that women with disabilities face in Guatemala. Amid an escalating climate crisis, another fellow and human ecologist based in Colombia will document the work of women who fight for environmental justice and gender rights through her podcast, Radio Cuerpa.

Reflecting an intersectional approach to the fellowship, several fellows will take on projects related to LGBTI and feminist activism. This includes an LGBTI activist who will document the stories of young lesbian women facing violence and discrimination in Latin America; a social activist in Colombia who will create a safe space for Afro-Colombian queer people; and a social advocate based in Buenos Aires who will advocate against sexual violence in marginalized communities.

The Young Feminist Leaders Fellowship also aims to foster intergenerational exchanges and alliances among feminist leaders and activists. Open Society’s Women’s Rights Program and Youth Exchange collaborated with three host organizations in Latin America—the Association for Women’s Rights in Development, Equipo Latinoamericano de Género y Justicia, and Instituto Liderazgo Simone de Beauvoir—that will host the six fellows. These organizations  will provide the fellows with mentorship, additional resources, and support throughout the fellowship.

All fellows are directly impacted by the challenges they seek to address, as investing in youth from underrepresented communities is part of Open Society’s commitment to creating the conditions for equal participation in civil society.

“We have worked to be entirely inclusive and feminist in our approach to building this new fellowship,” said Rachele Tardi, senior team manager of Open Society’s Youth Exchange. “We crafted the concept of the fellowship with our host organization partners, holding each other accountable every step of the way. We are proud to launch this fellowship that includes young people who are communicating, organizing, and advocating for gender justice across Latin America.”

To carry out their work, fellows receive a stipend of $40,000 for 12 months, including funds for project-related expenses. The Young Feminist Leaders Fellowship is the Open Society Foundations’ latest effort to foster the next generation of dynamic feminist activists and support individuals engaged in time-bound projects aligned with open society values.

2019 Young Feminist Leaders Fellows

Maytik Avirama will create a space for alternative voices and stories often marginalized by traditional media by producing a podcast on Latin American ecofeminist narratives through the voices of women fighting for environmental justice and gender rights.

Gabriela Ferreiro will document the stories of girls and young women who have survived sexual abuse, and conduct workshops to promote education and change in her community in Buenos Aires.

Al Vallejo Galeana will document and make visible the struggles of young lesbian and non-heterosexual women against fundamentalisms, violence, and discrimination in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Valentina Vargas Ricca will lead an action-research process in Guatemala to generate collective knowledge about how women with disabilities experience and resist violence.

Nabil Yanai Salazar Sánchez will organize workshops and produce a series of podcasts to document and share the collective experiences of the human and labor rights movements of domestic workers in Mexico City.

Verónica Cristancho Segura will create a safe space for Afro-Colombian queer people in their community in Colombia and promote the use of art as activism and expression of identity in sharing knowledge about sexual and reproductive rights.

Read more

Subscribe to updates about Open Society’s work around the world