Amina Doherty completed an internship at the Feminist Majority Foundation in Washington, D.C. in 2005 with the support of a Tania Zouikin Arts Internship Award in International Development. She answered a few questions about how her work as an activist has since developed.
Q: What are you up to these days?
A: Currently, I am coordinating the creation of a new initiative called FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund. FRIDA, (an acronym that stands for the Fund’s core values: Flexibility, Resources, Inclusivity, Diversity and Action), is a funding initiative led by young feminists for young feminists under 30. Through the provision of small grants, networking and capacity building opportunities, FRIDA supports the creative, dynamic and groundbreaking work being done by young women globally.
Q: How did you find your current position/decide to pursue your current field of study?
A: I have always considered myself to be a feminist, as someone committed to making a difference in a world wherein people continue to be discriminated against on the basis of race, gender, class, sexual preference, socio-economic position and other varying axes of inequality. As a feminist, I have always had an interest and desire to pursue social justice work as evidenced by the various “kinds” of roles I have pursued over the years. After graduating from McGill in 2006, I spent a year working as a researcher at the Directorate of Gender Affairs in Antigua and Barbuda where I led research for the national report to CEDAW, the Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC) and the Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action (CAFRA). Following that, I pursued an MSc at the London School of Economics in Gender and International Development. Prior to my current role, I worked in the women's rights grant-making program at the human rights funder The Sigrid Rausing Trust and pursued an internship with the London-based creative network Arts & Business.
Q: What do you like most about your current pursuits?
A: I value having the opportunity to be part of shaping something so unique and exciting. Young women around the world are involved in some of the most important interventions for advancing women’s rights. They are advocating for core feminist concerns such as: sexual violence, safety and security, economic justice (including labor rights and employment), reproductive justice, political participation, among others. I recognize the value of playing a part in mobilizing the much needed resources to support this kind of critical work. I truly believe that women’s movements are strengthened when young feminist activists and their organizations are provided with the resources they need and with the capacity to mobilize resources for their work. I like the fact that FRIDA is responding to what young feminists themselves have said that they need (i.e. both financial and non-financial resources) to help move their work forward and to help build connected, global community by linking young feminists from different contexts, regions and organizations.
I am also incredibly grateful that my role allows me to build my own personal capacity in many ways. I am responsible for collaborating with relevant stakeholders on the design and conceptualization of the Fund, I have responsibilities that include resource mobilization, fundraising and communications, and I play an important role in building new relationships with key strategic allies including donors, women’s funds and other regional and international feminist organizations. Building on my previous grantmaking experience, this role allows me to develop and implement new processes for grant-making.
Q: How is this position similar/dissimilar to your internship?
A: My internship with the Feminist Majority Foundation definitely helped shape the kind of work I am doing today. It provided me with a deeper understanding of the United States’ legal and political systems and in particular, how critical decisions made at those levels affect women’s rights globally. It also taught me to take issue with and interrogate more deeply issues of exclusion and silences within some feminist spaces. All of these things have contributed greatly to helping shape my own politics and the kind of work I am doing today.
Q: What advice would you give to a person trying to enter your field of work/field of study?
A: Never give up. I am inspired by the activists who refuse to become disillusioned in spite of the on-going social, political, emotional struggles they face daily. These are the people that have taught me that in the face of all adversity you just don’t give up.