I live in Kampala, Uganda and I work with Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA) a pan-African movement building organisation that supports and initiates coalitions, networks, develops African knowledge for the lobbying and advocating for African women’s rights including conducting an African women’s leadership institute that builds the capacity of women from various backgrounds and capacities to engage in transformative leadership through a feminist perspective.
I consider myself a feminist because I believe in the dignity of a woman and oppose all patriarchal tendencies that undermine women. I take note and recognise the rights of women and endeavour to apply them in my personal and public life. To that, many young women do confide in me but also seek for knowledge in as far as their rights and dignity are concerned.
It is a pity that the word ‘feminism’ has been misunderstood by society and these misconceptions have labelled women with various demeaning titles like ‘ rebels, prostitutes, marriage breakers’ to mention but a few. In addition, the unending traditional practices that still impede the development of women and deter their prosperity in as far as making informed decisions related to their lives continue to hamper the progress towards gender equality.
In addition, the fact that there are still very few young women involved in feminist organising presents a missed opportunity as young women need to be mentored and encouraged to fully participant in the feminist movement and speak for themselves and as much as possible to shift the status quo.
Strong feminist spaces at National level like the Uganda Feminist Forum (UFF) provide fresh energies and mentoring opportunities for the young women and transferring the leadership to avoid the strong generational gaps.
I have siblings and sister friends who look up to me for guidance and I endeavour to engage them as much as I can with relevant information in as far as their rights as women and human dignity is concerned. In addition there is a need to create frequent feminist spaces at national, regional and international levels that will encourage strong and collective voices for African women. The feminist movement on the continent also need to fully engage young women in the movement by creating mentoring programs/spaces and effectively affirming the transfer of leadership opportunities to the younger generation.
As feminists, the need to walk the talk and fully commit and follow the feminist charter especially in our professional spaces.
As a young feminist, I draw my inspiration from strong African feminist women who have not given up on the fight, have been exemplary to the young women, walked the talk, have stood up to be counted and are not about to give up as our feminism journey is a continuous one.
My other inspiration comes from women who despite the various challenges in their private lives (marriages) have committed to not looking back but hold their heads high with a smile.