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Abstract:

A so-called “resurgence” of feminist activism in the UK is currently being reported by journalists, commentators and academics, with young women seemingly at the fore. This is remarkable given the reported backlash against feminism and the widely held view of young people in general, and young women in particular, as politically apathetic. In this qualitative study I focus on eight young feminist activists who arguably form part of this resurgence. All are members of the London Feminist Network, a grassroots, women-only,feminist activist organisation in London, England, UK. Through qualitative interviews I explored their motivations for becoming involved in feminist activism and their perception of the benefits that they gained, including political efficacy. The findings highlight the significance of women-only space in providing such benefits, and expose the impact of sexism in mixed social movements. Sociability and the opportunity to engage in collective political activism emerged as key motivations for joining LFN. Inspirations for joining were often negative, such as the mainstreaming of pornography, and the sexual objectification of women in the media. These were identified as barriers to the equal engagement of women in all political spheres, including social movements. [Rest.]