I work for the Alliance for Integrated Rural Development Information and Resource Centre (AIRDIRC) in Kamuli District, Uganda.
I have dedicated my life to addressing the challenges that women face. Within our societies and our communities we have to constantly deal with discrimination and practices that tend to want to make us less than what we are. In addition, in most rural communities, women are having to work hard to address poverty and persisting levels of violence that prevent them from developing or moving forward. Traditions and culture also play a role in keeping women in roles and positions where they are ‘less’ than men and women themselves contribute often to maintaining some of these traditions due to their lack of knowledge and information.
I am a feminist because I believe that women have the right to dignity. I believe that no matter where we are, where we are from, we all deserve respect for our rights and to get the same opportunities to grow and develop as those who live in non-rural areas. I am motivated by a sense of justice – but also because I believe that we can only change our reality if we stand up for ourselves.
In Africa, our the most important challenges we as feminists face are the intricate national and international laws that discriminate against women. Although there has been work on these laws, there continues to be efforts to maintain the systemic nature of women’s oppression. We also need to recognise that having new and progressive laws in place is not enough, we also have to fight for them to be implemented – otherwise justice remains elusive to so many women who do not have the information, education and also access to challenge unjust laws. The lack of funds to address emerging issues and deal with transforming our societies is another major challenge for us to move forward steadily and strategically. Possibly one strategy to address this is to form networks to find innovative strategies to address our issues, but also to be creative in sourcing resources to keep the struggles going.
In order to strengthen the feminist movement in Africa, we should revive, energise and feed solidarity initiatives that allow feminists to constantly communicate, provide support to one another and ultimately erode the systemic base of women’s discrimination and oppression.
Personally, I am inspired by other feminists who have paved the way for African feminists and who have shown us what is possible.