There was a time, a dark time in our history when the word woman was synonymous with weakness, vulnerability and dependence, among other dis-empowering terms. Gender equality was construed as war against the ”natural order of things”.
Growing up in rural Uganda, I used to see my brothers behave like princes in the household. We the girls, were treated like maids, serving at their beck and call. I cannot say, I felt abused or exploited but that is because I did not know any better.
I used to hear stories of women being battered by their husbands due to very petty shortcomings. My young mind registered at an early stage that the male gender was superior in every respect. Then, a woman was appointed vice president and my world changed; at least my imaginary one.
But it wasn’t just my world. That single act proved to all of us that still doubted that women could indeed lead. Decades down the road, we are still disproving those that still think that a woman’s job is in the kitchen. We are telling the world that while we can do an amazing job in the kitchen, we can also rule the conference room. We are transforming healthcare, education, politics, technology, name it. And, we are doing it with grace and compassion, bringing much needed healing and transforming our world.
Yet, despite the incredible leaps we have made, it just isn’t enough. Should we stop because so much has been accomplished?
As we celebrate our gains, we need to consolidate efforts, bringing on board all stakeholders that impact the lives of our women and girls. Every girl matters!
Early this year, the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) launched a campaign code named #Africa4her2016. #Africa4Her is a Network-wide initiative to spur awareness and positive action around women’s issues. As part of this initiative, we are called on to take action to increase women’s access to equal opportunities in the workplace, a girl’s access to equal opportunities in the classroom, and to take action to eliminate the scourge of gender-based violence.
Be part of this initiative by doing any or all of the following:
- Make a pledge to invest in women and girls in your community and help raise awareness by filling out the form below or by visiting yali.state.gov/pledge. Once you make your pledge you will receive a personalized graphic with your name and pledge to share with your friends on your social media platforms.
- Get creative with YALICreatives and submit, photos, art, videos or music that help tell a story of inspiring women and girls or individuals working with them in your community. Find more information at yalicreatives.com/africa4her/.
Change starts with you, pledge to invest in women and girls today!
By Ritah Namwiza