I live in Senegal, West Africa. I live in Toubab Dialaw (60 km away from Dakar) in a small fishing village where I am tirelessly committed to the work with women and youth associations.
I am a feminist as I have always been gender sensitive from childhood till now. I have always refused to conform to stereotypes and resisted dictates that tended to box me such as “you belong/you don’t belong to”. At a personal level, I am inspired by principles and ideals of justice and have translated this into my efforts to fight for our right to be free to choose. In the society I live in, much of what women’s lives would be tend to be chosen for them and women often become shackled by norms, traditions and the confines of traditional roles that hamper their ability to actualize all parts of themselves.
I believe that in Africa, our biggest challenge is educating and empowering women in communities. Whilst we have made great strides in more women being empowered and educated, this has not filtered down to women at all levels of society. In many contexts women still have to justify and fight for their education and empowerment. Both of these, impact on their ability to claim dignity, rights and also to advance themselves to another economic level.
If we want to strengthen our work in Africa, we need to get more organized, especially in French speaking countries. We need to increase the dialogue and the organising in our own spaces and countries and also across spaces and countries. Then, we also need to build bridges with our Anglophone sisters. Despite some initiatives to address the lack of connections between Anglophone and Francophone feminist groups, we still have a long way to go. We need to prioritise this, get together more often and build strong collaborations. Only through this, will we finally see some sustainable changes in our countries.
In my own life, my professional activities have often focused on engagements with youth associations in the area of sports and culture, as well as on economic empowerment through creation of enterprises for women and health. I am a member of the Association for integrated development in Toubab Dialaw, Toastmasters Clubs International and the Pan African Network of Leaders (PANeL) Senegal. These platforms provide me with many opportunities to live out my feminist identity, to challenge existing inequalities and to grow.
My inspiration comes from all women around the world who do small (and great) things to free themselves from stereotypes and invent new ways of expressing themselves (writers, artists, politicians, etc.).