Twenty-five years on from the UN Conferences in Cairo (1994) and Beijing (1995) with their radical vision of women’s rights – including sexual and reproductive rights – this article considers the challenges to women’s rights from the perspective of young feminists connected to FEMNET. It draws on recent research with FEMNET members, partners, allies, and staff at the secretariat in Nairobi, Kenya. The article has been developed through collaboration and feminist sisterhood with the ATHENA Initiative, a feminist collective working on gender equality, HIV/AIDS, and sexual and reproductive health and rights. The article reflects in particular on the role of young African feminists in reclaiming the women’s rights agenda from political actors who many of us consider to have hijacked the concept and language of ‘women’s rights’ and ‘gender equality’, to further different goals. These concepts have been depoliticised and professionalised, at a time when many of the rights of young women are increasingly under threat.
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