The African Feminist Forum took place from 15 -19 November 2006 in Accra, Ghana. The meeting brought together over 100 feminist activists from all over the region and the diaspora. The space was crafted as an autonomous space in which African feminists from all walks of life, at different levels of engagement within the feminist movement such as mobilizing at local levels for women’s empowerment to academia, could reflect on a collective basis and chart ways to strengthen and grow the feminist movement on the continent.
A key outcome of the forum was the adoption of the Charter of Feminist Principles, which was agreed by the Regional Working group for the Forum, to be one of its principle aims. It was felt that we need something to help us define and affirm our commitment to feminist principles, which will guide our analysis, and practice. As such the Charter sets out the collective values that we hold as key to our work and to our lives as African feminists. It charts the change we wish to see in our communities, and also how this change is to be achieved. In addition it spells out our individual and collective responsibilities to the movement and to one another within the movement
With this Charter, we reaffirm our commitment to dismantling patriarchy in all its manifestations in Africa. We remind ourselves of our duty to defend and respect the rights of all women, without qualification. We commit to protecting the legacy of our feminist ancestors who made numerous sacrifices, in order that we can exercise greater autonomy.
The Charter is an inspirational as well as an aspirational document. Mechanisms for operationalising it were also drawn up at the meeting. Key recommendations were:
- The dissemination and popularization of the Charter as a critical movement building tool. This requires such inputs as, translation of the charter into as many languages as possible, communication of the charter through different mediums such as radio, websites, television, and so on.
- The Charter was viewed by many as an accountability mechanism for feminist organizing. As such it was recommended that it be developed into a tool that women’s organizations can use for monitoring the own institutional development as well as peer review with other feminists.