From afar and the words rumour mongers carry around, one will think they are women who lack respect, unhappy, unmarried and proud as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie puts it. The stories we hear everyday of how evil and egocentric feminists are all lies. I can’t count how many times the ladies mentioned phrases like “equal opportunities for the betterment of mankind, do on to others what you want them to do to you”, etc.
Yes! I am talking about the ladies, adolescent girls and men who attended the preCSW64 and Beijing25 Central African Region Feminist Assembly in Douala on March 2, 2020 in Douala. This meeting was held as a result of the 64th session of the commission on the status of women (CSW64) that is supposed to take place in New York in March 2020.
I was amazed at the adolescent girls I saw who already have a passion for driving positive change in their communities. While sitting in my own little corner, I could notice the time consciousness of the moderators, the collaborative attitudes of the participants and the witty words that came from every participant.
I bet you, the world needs women in every aspect of life to ensure order and organisation.
Then, the adolescent girls came forward to give a road map of what has been happening since 1995 after the Beijing Conference. I can still get the echoes of their names ringing in my head; Victorine, Liz, Raissa, Sakinatou, Favour, Hilux, Ngimou, Nise and many others. From their presentation, it looks less has been done as concerns gender equality since 1995 after the Beijing conference. They also presented to participants their supposed presentation at the PreCSW Side event in the US if not for the Corona virus outbreak retarding them fron travelling.
These feminists in attendance of this #GenerationEquality Assembly have taken themselves to force a change by 2021. In terms of Gender Based Violence (GBV), they are determined to ensure the punishment of 100 perpetrators by 2021. They want more exposure of women into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) which has been seen as a male thing.
In all, the main focus of these feminists is to tackle six (6) areas in which they think women are lacking in:
- Gender Based Violence
- Feminist movements and Leadership
- Body Autonomy and sexual reproductive health
- Economic justice and rights
- Technology and innovation for gender
- Climate change
As I watched them work in groups to develop objectives for these six focus areas, the only sound I could make was hhhmmm!
A lot of efforts had been put in by the organizers of this assembly, Women for a Change, Cameroon (WfaC). We had received a series of timely emails, WhatsApp messages, consistent reminders of the meeting and monthly webinars. The organization was superb. Kudos to Wfac.
If only the different players like the government, private individuals and organizations could put hands together with these feminists, the dream of improving the living standards of women and making their voices heard would come true in no time.
Therefore, as Chimamnada says it, I think everyone should become a feminist. It baffles me when I mention feminism to people and the first thing that comes to their mind is rebuke.
If you are reading this today, tell us what you think of feminism.