I work in a gender and development consultancy in Harare as the Communications Officer. My work includes assessments, strategic planning and gathering and disseminating information to support the development of organisations working on gender equality and women’s rights. I am a self-motivated woman who is concerned about and works towards the fulfilment of equity and equality for women and girls. I believe that women deserve so much more than what they are currently exposed to. I see the potential in women to make a difference in their lives and for humankind. That is why I call myself a feminist.
The persistence of patriarchy, which many women help to perpetuate, is a major challenge for feminists. Patriarchy is difficult to separate from traditions, cultures and beliefs, and at times even from a woman’s own sense of self worth. We also face the challenge of the continued relegation of feminist thoughts to mere “ unimportant women’s issues” in society, or worse still to underfunded women’s ministries in our governments. And we face the challenge of a male attitude that thinks that sending girls to school is the only (and end of the) contribution they can make towards women’s equality.
As part of my feminist activism, I clearly articulate my views and act upon them to family and friends regarding practices that perpetuate patriarchy. I have chosen to be involved with women’s organisations and their work. And I continue to work with young girls to help them embrace a fuller education and social curriculum that does not limit their career and life choices.
In order to strengthen the feminist movement across the continent we need to keep reaching out to young women through training nurturing, mentoring and making feminism relevant to their lived realities. We need to keep honing our communication skills, working in and with the media to properly represent what feminism is, and the values and beliefs of women that call themselves feminists. And we need to keep working as we have done over the years to respond to violations of women and girl’s rights and taking action, knowing that others will follow.
From my work thus far I have learnt that we are not on an easy road. At the end of each day I take stock of what I have achieved, who I have touched, how I have grown, and with that I gather more energy for tomorrow.