Tina Thiart

Individual African feminists

I live in Cape Town and I work with the Women’s Funds and Community Foundations in Southern Africa. I am a Board member in the interim for AWDF and also a board member for the Southern Africa Community Grantmakers forum, WINGS and Women’s Net. My role is to work with the Women’s Funds on sustainability […]

I live in Cape Town and I work with the Women’s Funds and Community Foundations in Southern Africa. I am a Board member in the interim for AWDF and also a board member for the Southern Africa Community Grantmakers forum, WINGS and Women’s Net. My role is to work with the Women’s Funds on sustainability and advise them on corporate fundraising. I am also an advisor on programs and grantmaking strategies for women’s organisations.

I call myself a feminist because since I was very young, l I have been angry when I saw inequality. Growing up in a poor community where race discrimination was huge, and the use of financial resources to advance our male partners was very disturbing. So I vowed to dedicate myself to ensuring that women have equal access to resources and opportunities in my country. Today still although apartheid has been abandoned we still see much inequality and women’s empowerment need more attention.

The biggest challenge to feminists in Africa is the access to resources, financial, land, energy, technology and skills. To address this, we need to mobilise more resources for women’s empowerment, support women to challenge the government on basic needs of women (land, water energy) and organise more skills training and networking opportunities.

I believe we also have to engage with the political space and there our work needs to be directed on three levels: more women in politics, education and training of women elected and influencing leaders of the government (which is not easy in South Africa). As women we also need to organise more grassroots women’s convening and meetings to ensure that we share with them our strategies and organise learning and sharing opportunities.

In my personal and professional life, I have been part of the Women’s Funding Movement in South Africa and Internationally. I am involved in donor education and network with both business and civil society. My contributions are not big, but I am proud of the work we have done in the region.

What really inspires me is to see the young people excel and use the opportunities that have been created by so many women before them. I am also very inspired by grassroots women’s organisations that are sustainable and that with many volunteers are able to do the work without much financial contributions from external sources. They just deal with the issues that they face on a daily basis.

 

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