Saturday, May 15, 2021

Introducing African Feminism

There is no doubt that gender inequality continues to breed tension worldwide. The issue of gender inequality has been pushed aside and altered slightly to give the impression that it has been eradicated from society when in reality it is still very much alive.

We live in a world where women are still oppressed, in the work-place, sexually, in their own household, in sport and almost in every aspect of their lives. While there are nowadays laws, committees, institutions, programmes and wellness schemes to protect women, the unwritten mindset of society’s idea of what women should be still exists today. ┬áThese mindsets are taught and indoctrinated into people’s minds from a young age, allowing stereotypes to define our views on gender roles. Sexism is something one is taught, not born with. It also has to be taken into account that the eradication of such a system lies in the future generation. The youth of today has the responsibility to fix the broken society that has been cosmetically altered to look more appealing, to seem more stable. Recently a group of seven young ladies came together and realized that shared a common goal of changing society.

Together with the help of a university professor Chengiah Ragaven, they started the African Feminist movement. A powerful group of elegant young ladies with the common goal of addressing social issues in today’s world.

Two of Gaborone’s very own young ladies are leading the movement, namely Resego Gaetsaloe and Loyiso Mbere. Within weeks the committee grew rapidly and over a thousand people read about it on social media, all of them aged 16-20 years. They started to stir up attention and create awareness amongst their peers at school as well as on social media. African Feminism commits to challenging gender-based stereotypes in all spheres of life and highlighting the patriarchy that ultimately hinders growth.

Literally weeks later the group had over 100 members, male and female, working together with their projects, aims as well as spreading awareness about the need for an equality, the need to do something with ones time to work towards the future of not only the society but the world itself.

The youth of today have the power to change the inequalities for a better future. It is their turn to rectify and renew society and we see the realization and action of this in the formation of the African Feminism. When taking a look at their mission statement, African Feminism aims to empower women and reduce the tax of feminine hygiene items as well as set up a scheme to provide these items to under privileged communities.

“I have always heard the suggestion that Feminism is unAfrican, but the truth is that feminism is an absolute necessity for African societies. Women are being systematically marginalized in both our local and global societies. It’s so easy to sit back and talk about these issues, but I learnt that if you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem. The way gender functions today is a grave injustice, and this makes me angry,” says Resego.

“No one but us African women must bear the responsibility to protect ourselves. My hope is that the movement will tackle issues on the nature of gender inequality and examine women’s social roles, experiences, interests and feminist politics in a variety of fields.”

It has to be taken into account the misconception that people have over what feminism means. Feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights. The dictionary states that a feminist is someone who believes in the social, political and economic equality of all the sexes, which relates to the African Feminism movement. The fact that the youth have acknowledged that there is a greater problem when it comes to equality, one that is in their hands to fix, to right the wrongs of the past. They take this drive and use the clever technique of working out of the root of inequality, starting with the youth. Doing this in the most elegant, beautiful and poignant way, they promote the balance of cultural relativism and universal rights. By addressing inequality in Africa, it is inevitable that racial injustice will be encountered.

The African Feminism movement speaks out against rape as well as the pressure young women feel which they are under no obligation to be forced to approach, reminding young girls that they are in control of themselves, and should not have to be forced or pressured to do anything they aren’t comfortable with, this being a serious social issue that does not receive enough concern. As well as young ladies having access to any sort of hygiene products that should be available for them, to keep healthy and clean.

As well as challenging the mindset in the atmosphere of the youth when it comes to stereotypes of what a “beautiful girl” is. Spreading the notion and encouraging young ladies to be in touch as well as proud of their culture and heritage. The comfort of their African elegance. Their most recent act was the “I need #AfricanFeminsim because … “ activity, where they approached students, both boys and girls, in school, asking them to write down why they needed feminism in their lives, and taking a picture of it, this way spreading awareness not only amongst the school and the community, but also them to realize themselves why they need feminism.

Some of the responses being “I need #AfricanFeminism because who I am/will be should not be determined by my race or gender. I should be able to be who I want to be “and “I need #AfricanFeminism because my gender shouldn’t determine what job I am capable of “Anyone is able to follow the movement on their facebook page African Feminism, their twitter account @AfricanFeminism also has a lot more information and by following them you can learn more about the movement, as well as keep in touch with all schemes and activities they participate in. African in heart and in spirit, African Feminism cordially invites you to join the fight.

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