I am a feminist lawyer and human rights activist. A Ugandan by birth, I have lived and worked across the African continent. I currently work for the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I chose to name myself as a feminist because I believe that the subordinate situation and position of women in our society is a direct consequence of patriarchy. I have committed myself in my personal and professional life to challenge male dominance in its different manifestations as the basis for effort to secure rights and empowerment for myself and for other women. I endeavour to practice my feminist beliefs in all areas of my life. There is what I do as a feminist in the context of my official work – providing technical and financial support to the African Union and women’s rights networks with the aim of strengthening regional and national policy and institutional frameworks and programmes for women’s rights. I also engage in advocacy for the same purpose. Then there is what I do as a feminist in my personal capacity throughout the year offering moral support, a listening ear, friendship, and mentoring to sisters wherever they are at the time (geographically and in life’s experience), and many times sharing in crying bouts when at a loss! There is what I do as a mother trying to be a good mother (whatever that means!) and nurturing a family (ever expanding with in-laws and grandchildren) in which we are friends more than anything else. There is what I do as a wife ever expanding my and my partner’s understanding of the concept, role and space of “wife”; being a sexual partner and learning from the benefit of hindsight and ageing. In the many years that I have worked in defence of women’s rights in Africa I have seen many positive shifts in thinking, political will and practice. However, in recent years, I have also seen the space for political feminists organising begin to shrink, or be wrongly cast as “non-essential” to development practice. This shrinking has occurred in part to the success of our feminist activism, as more mainstream organisations take on the gender equality and women’s rights agenda though not always with the same political analysis or commitment. Despite some hurdles we are seeing more women claim a feminist identity, and must continue to nurture young feminists through outreach and mentoring. I am compelled to remain on this feminist path by the many women that I come across in my life’s journey who have dared to hope, to challenge, and to feel comfortable in living differently; by those women who are succeeding in making the different become normal in their personal and professional life. Even one of them succeeding makes it worthwhile to continue.
I am a feminist lawyer and human rights activist. A Ugandan by birth, I have lived and worked across the African continent. I currently work for the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I chose to name myself as a feminist because I believe that the subordinate situation and position […]