Sophia Kpebutso

Individual African feminists

I was born and raised in Ghana. I work with the AWDF a Pan-African grantmaking foundation which mobilises financial resources to support local, national and international initiatives led by women with a vision for African women to live in a world where there is social justice, equality and respect for human rights I am a […]

I was born and raised in Ghana. I work with the AWDF a Pan-African grantmaking foundation which mobilises financial resources to support local, national and international initiatives led by women with a vision for African women to live in a world where there is social justice, equality and respect for human rights

I am a proud feminist because I know I am! I have been transformed through my exposure to the realities that women face, through observing, listening and learning the way patriarchy snatches away our ability to dream and be the light of our world. I am a feminist because I believe in the dignity of a woman and the impact a woman can make when given equal opportunities. I am a feminist because I believe in equality in the home, in the workplace, in all other relationships and our society.

The challenge with feminism in Africa is lack of understanding. People do not understand the movement. People equate feminism to man-haters, militant lesbians, people who hate sex, and women who want to be men. Another challenge is a lack of vibrant young women within the movement. Young women who themselves think of, dream and act using innovative strategies to address the challenges faced by women in our societies. In addition, this lack of young women in the movement is a challenge as it has implications for the succession of current movement leaders.

These challenges can only be addressed if women are key players in the feminist revolution. Secondly, the feminist movement has to proactively coach younger women and mentor them so that they become impassioned and are ready to step into the big shoes of their predecessors. It is also important that efforts be made to empower women at all levels of society, to popularize feminism so that it starts chipping away at the negative perceptions that are held by feminists. These strategies can easily be done through the national feminist forums as these would be rooted in local realities and challenges and thus ensure that the solutions that emerge are fitting for each African country. The Feminist Charter is a tool that is available to guide these actions and it is up to each local context to take it and apply it and adapt it so that it becomes a living document.

Our transformation as a continent can only happen if we move from just engaging in discourses, to purposeful action. This will ensure that the ideals and the values of feminists will no longer invoke tentative responses such as “I am a feminist but…, I am a feminist if…” Commitment from the movement to building bridges, communicating and being willing to change if necessary is a definite requirement for this.

In my professional life I am proud to say I work with an organisation that is deeply rooted in the feminist ideals and works to ensure that women-led initiatives thrive across the continent. I believe that “the personal is political” so I try to live my life by feminist standards. I recently found myself in amidst a group of younger people through the university training I am undergoing. Meeting these people I have tried to share my knowledge with them and also tried to live a life worthy of emulation. Also I have a four -year old son who motivates and challenges me to be a better feminist.

I draw my inspiration from women who have for centuries stood up against injustices and risked everything to achieve ‘freedom’ and ‘dignity’.

 

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