Feminists Dialogue On Women’s Rights – Inter-generational Dialogues On Women and Girls

By Sharon Kantengwa

In November 2006, over 100 feminist activists from Africa and the diaspora convened in Accra, Ghana for The African Feminist Forum to reflect on a collective basis and chart ways to strengthen and grow the feminist movement on the continent.

The Charter of Feminist Principles for African Feminists, that involved subjects such as, identification as African feminists, individual ethics, institutional ethics, and feminist leadership, was viewed by many as an accountability mechanism for feminism and therefore recommended that it be developed into a tool that women’s organisations can use for monitoring their own institutional development as well as peer review with other feminists.

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In a dialogue organised by Rwanda Women’s Network through its FEMDialogues, members of the Feminist Leadership group, Civil Society Organisations convened to share their perspectives on the feminist charter in the Rwandan context as well as seek for a proposed name for term feminism and feminist, in the local dialect.

At the forum African feminists committed to dismantle patriarchy in all its manifestations in Africa, defend and respect the rights of all women, without qualification, and protect the legacy of African feminist ancestors who made numerous sacrifices, in order to exercise greater autonomy.

Mary Balikungeri, founder of Rwanda Women’s Network, noted that while Rwandan women in the old days advocated for the rights of women and paved way for the movement, there was need to remind society about their efforts, hence the translation and dissemination of the charter.

“As feminists, whenever we add the ‘buts’ we are denying women their rights. There is a lot of power and structures, like economy, power, liberalism that we need to look at and not just women and men. This is where radical feminism comes in, it is not a war between men and women, we are just not satisfied with having equality only, and we want to see issues being resolved,” she said.

Josephine Uwamariya, the country director of ActionAid, called for raising awareness and educating the masses about the need for them to join the movement as well as address their misconceptions about feminism.

We need to raise awarenes because if we don’t put energy into what you are advocating for, it will suffer resistance. We should also be frank and open where needed, even if the constitution advocates for inclusion and participation, and we have to challenge each other where need be, but we cannot do it alone which is why we need male feminists who will challenge their counterparts, because we advocate partly because we are victims and that should not remain that way,” she said.

Also the need for intergenerational dialogues which is taking shape in the communities for mothers to contextualize what they are saying to their daughters and name identity.

Source: New Times

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