Rokhaya Gaye

Individual African feminists

I am a lawyer with a Bachelors degree in law from Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar. I have worked for the African Network for Integrated Development (Réseau Africain pour le Développement Integré- RADI) since 1993. I started working with RADI’s legal advice centre. I now coordinate RADI’s legal programme which was created in 1989 […]

I am a lawyer with a Bachelors degree in law from Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar. I have worked for the African Network for Integrated Development (Réseau Africain pour le Développement Integré- RADI) since 1993. I started working with RADI’s legal advice centre. I now coordinate RADI’s legal programme which was created in 1989 to promote and protect women’s rights through the popularisation and defence of rights. In addition to this work, I have been a long standing member of networks and associations for the defence of women’s rights. Among these are the Committe Against Violence Against Women (Le Comité de Lutte Contre les Violences Faites aux Femmes – CLVF), the Network on Women’s Rights and Development in Africa (Le Réseau Femmes Droits et Developpement en Afrique – FEDDAF) and the Research Group on Women and laws in Senegal (Le Groupe de Recherche sur les Femmes et les Lois au Sénégal – GREFELS).

I am a feminist because I am engaged in a daily fight against men’s oppression and domination of women, with the aim of ensuring a more just and equitable society without any gender discrimination As feminists and human rights activists we have had some important successes in changing laws and policies. However as with all movements for transformation, we also face barriers and complexities. The first is to keep flying the flag of the feminist movement in an African context characterised by an upsurge in religious fundamentalism and marginalisation. The second is how to enable people made vulnerable by poverty to feel ownership of the feminist agenda. We must keep working on translating key principles and concepts of feminism into an accessible language to help the activists at the grassroots to take ownership of the movement. Mobilising young women in community activist groups is also another important way of growing understanding, dialogue and the movement itself.

Throughout my professional life I have been part of initiatives that seek to popularise and disseminate information about human rights. This has helped create a more active citizenry and inspired activism and protest around human rights violations. In my personal life I have invested in raising my children with ideas and sensibilities that help them challenge gender discrimination. I remain hopeful of the possibility of establishing and sustaining an egalitarian society without gender discrimination or social injustice.


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