Guiding principles based on a shared understanding of feminism and feminist leadership 

Y-Fem Namibia Trust draws inspiration, knowledge and leadership from the many feminists who have led the way, in Namibian, Africa and globally. These women have recognized and built resistance to all forms of discrimination against and oppression of women. They have built a powerful movement for equality, peace and social justice based on the claim for women’s equal human rights and active citizenship. 

We take up the torch of feminism as a critical tool for understanding why women and young women in our communities and around the world continue to be discriminated against, marginalized and oppressed - despite all the progressive laws and policies that guarantee our rights to dignity, equality, well-being, pleasure and happiness.

As feminists, we identify patriarchy - the rule of men over women and children in all spheres of society, as the root cause of our oppression as women throughout our lives. Patriarchy is the ideology and practice that values and privileges men, giving them the authority to exercise power and control over resources and rewards, including control over women’s sexuality and reproduction. Patriarchy is deeply embedded in political, cultural and religious institutions, and does not automatically change through laws that protect the rights of women. These laws must enter the hearts and minds of everyone, including men, who must learn to share power, resources, labour and decision making equally with women - in the family and in all public institutions and spaces. 

As feminists, we analyze the different ways in which power is exercised in society, and promote the collaborative exercise of power among all people to bring about true equality and social justice, not only for women, young women and girls, but also for everyone who is poor, marginalized and excluded. 

As feminists, we claim women’s and young women’s right to ownership and control over our bodies, minds and lives. We have the right to dignity - to be respected as persons with full human rights; to bodily integrity – having control over what happens to our bodies and ensuring our well-being; to autonomy – thinking, speaking and acting for ourselves; and to choice – in all areas of our lives, including our sexuality, relationships, and reproduction. 

As feminists, we acknowledge the many differences and diversities among women - in the ways in which we craft our identities, and in the ways we are marginalized and oppressed. These differences relate, for example, to our age; to the racial or ethnic group we are born into; whether we live in rural or urban areas; whether we are poor, middle class or rich; our religious beliefs and spirituality; our political affiliation; our level of formal education; our life experiences and abilities; as well as our sexual orientation and gender identity. We celebrate our diversities and differences, and seek to build a shared vision and commitment to social transformation in the interests of all of us.

As feminists, we engage in a new kind of leadership and movement building that opens up participation and choices for all women, that empowers us and develops our agency – our power to act in our own interests to achieve our human rights as young women. Our engagement with one another will be collaborative, democratic, inclusive, horizontal, creating shared meaning, and fostering learning partnerships at home, at work, and in the community.

We will begin by developing our agency as young feminist leaders, analyzing our own lives and engaging in self-education to develop self-knowledge and self-worth, as well as taking control and exercising autonomy and choice over our bodies and our lives.