Some young activists have advised on the way forward for women’s empowerment and gender equality. These activists from Ghana and Uganda were particular about being intentional when it comes to strategies and actions to be taken in the advocacy for gender equality. They urged the need for strong collaborations among the various gender, and strong collaborations among organisations with similar missions as well as institutions mandated to promote women’s rights. It was further indicated that these strong collaborations at the national and community levels are critical for the promotion of equal opportunities for women.
During The Foundation for Security and Development in Africa’s (FOSDA) 5th edition of Talk WPS on 27th July 2022, the activists shared their experiences under the title, ‘Young Women Leading the Charge’.
The panelists included Eva Abugabe, an Integrated Development Practitioner, Nancy Ayesua Otu, a Finance Manager, Rita Abla Dugbenu, also a Development Worker in the areas of Gender, Child Rights, and sustainable livelihoods. And the other, Awas Mary Goretty, a Gender Mainstreaming Consultant. They mentioned inspirational stories that were fuelled by the need for change. These passions translated through the discussions which brought forth important recommendations. These include as follows.
Rita Abla Dugbenu emphasized the need to deliberately engage men and boys with practical strategies and actions when developing gender-related programmes. She added that this was important because one way or another if the male gender is involved in issues that pertain to women and girls, especially at the Metropolitan, Municipal, District Assemblies (MMDAs) level it would expose them to appreciate the programme.
In another vein, Eva Abugabe indicated that in order to bridge the gender inequality gap, there has to be a consensus-building with both state and non-state actors. Especially, in bringing women and men to the decision-making table to make policies that reflect the voices of women since they are affected more by various forms of violence. She stressed the fact that there is strength in numbers and encouraged all Civil Society Organisations to come together and advocate for the passing of Ghana’s Affirmative Action Bill.
Awas Mary Goretty was also very passionate about the subject matter under discussion and noted that there was an inadequate support system for women and girls at the national and MMDAs levels. This makes them unable to identify and accomplish their full potential in life in order to contribute to national and community development as well as participate meaningfully in decision-making. She encouraged all organisations who undertake Women, Peace, and Security Programming to advocate for structures that support women, especially the girl child.
The fourth panelist, Nancy Ayesua Otu indicated that achieving gender equality is not a simple task but rather a herculean one, which needs all hands-on deck, one-sided gender movement may never be able to achieve much results as expected. She therefore charged stakeholders to use dialogue in getting parties to appreciate gender-related programmes. It is her belief that dialogue brings people to understand the mission of empowering women as relevant stakeholders in development as well as resolving problems. From the Webinar, it came out that the women’s empowerment movement might seem like a tireless effort. However, some women are campaigning for social change especially when it comes to securing the woman personally, in the community, economically, politically, in health and in the environment as a whole. These activists have demonstrated that despite the challenges, we should continue focusing on creating an equitable tomorrow by joining forces. FOSDA’s ‘Talk WPS’ believes in facilitating the building of collaborations and synergies within and across the African region towards empowering the woman as a major partner in the Peacebuilding and Security sector