Oury Traore

Individual African feminists

I am from Mali, but have been living in Accra, Ghana since 2005. I am an Independent Consultant working mainly in Peace and Security. I also undertake assignments in Leadership, Organizational Development, Gender, Human Rights and Civil Society. My primary skills areas are in research, training, Evaluation; Program Formulation & Design; Process Facilitation; and Institutional […]

I am from Mali, but have been living in Accra, Ghana since 2005. I am an Independent Consultant working mainly in Peace and Security. I also undertake assignments in Leadership, Organizational Development, Gender, Human Rights and Civil Society. My primary skills areas are in research, training, Evaluation; Program Formulation & Design; Process Facilitation; and Institutional Building. I train senior military in peacekeeping; conduct evaluation for donors; Design conceptual framework; formulate research methodologies, etc. I work mainly with the African Union (AU), ECOWAS, the European Union (EU), donors and the International NGOs. I also train in conflict resolution techniques, Civil-Military relations and other peace and security issues.

I am a feminist because I do not believe that I am a sub-human or that I am less of a human being because of my sex. I believe that all human beings should have equal rights and equal opportunities regardless of their sex. Although women and men have different physical traits, they are both capable to think on their own, to have ideas, lead effectively, and take decisions that affect their lives. I am a feminist because I believe in women’s emotional, physical and financial integrity and independence. I am a feminist because I am not afraid to stand on my own and assert myself. Most important, I am a feminist because I do not conform – I embrace my mind, Soul and Spirit.

Feminists in Africa are misunderstood by our society in large. We are also isolated from the mainstream of global feminism because we struggle with our identity. Furthermore, Feminists in Africa are not really working in solidarity despite some of the efforts that are underway. We’re too busy scrutinizing and criticizing each other. We also need to understand that men are not our enemies, but the institutions that sustain patriarchy. We should focus so we can dismantle this well-established patriarchy structure by developing strategic leadership of women of all ages; allocate resources to feminist’s movements and institutions. We also need create an healthy space to amplify the voice and visibility of Africa Feminists by working in solidarity and collaboration at national, regional and international levels. We need to partners with like-minded women and men to dismantle patriarchy system that is detrimental to our society fabric.

I try to live in awareness and see all women are sisters despite our various views, perceptions and perspectives. I try to focus of our communality instead of our differences. I also train women’s NGOs to become effective leaders, to embrace other women; to lift other women and to focus on our collective vision and objectives. I am mentoring a few younger women professionally. In my friendship, when the relationships become toxic, I withdraw and remove myself because I really think that it is ugly for women to compete and beat each other when we’re already so abused by our societies. I am focusing my energy in improving myself spiritually, professionally and health wise, but also reach out to those who are in need.

I am inspired by increasing roles women are playing in leadership and in becoming effective leaders – more aware women in leadership positions. I hope, pray and work for a better world where love and peace prevail and where a critical mass of women leader will emerge and lead our World.

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