It’s been a tumultuous year for women’s rights. Having enjoyed incremental progress over decades, we’ve been inching ever closer to gender equality at home and on the international stage. Now for the first time, that progress looks to be under serious threat and concern is rising that much hard work will be undone. But, as ever, women – and men – all over the world, are not ready to take this affront lying down. And on days like today – International Women’s Day – the women’s rights movement has never looked stronger.
Here at Communities for Development, we see the empowerment of women and girls as fundamental. Of the people we work with to provide training and support in saving money and setting up small businesses, 80% of them are women. In addition to providing routes to financial independence, we have seen a wider social impact to such projects: challenging the traditional stereotyped roles of what a woman is able and willing to do, and unleashing the power and value women can add to a community.
To mark International Women’s Day, we got chatting to the women of Bulambuli to find out what the day means to them and what it’s like to be a woman in Uganda today:
For Doreen, today should be a day to celebrate women’s independence and liberty. Today is their day – “all men should cook for women and allow them more spare time.” She sees things have improved: “Nowadays, women are no long oppressed. Women are able to save, and plan their families – although overproducing is still a problem!”
Christine told us she is happy that family planning is now more available, and that women are free to speak: “They are even able to be in Parliament”.
Topista is 65 and has lost all her family – joining a saving group has allowed her to be part of a group and be more self-sufficient.
Aidah highlights that women were previously oppressed by men – but now men also cook, girls can go to school and women can stand beside men as equals.
Overall then, a positive feeling that the situation for women has improved, particularly in terms of freedom to voice their views, gain access to education and family planning, and – crucially – not being lumbered with all the cooking. But there is still some way to go to ensure women in the community maintain control over their own futures. With your help, we can continue a trend of women in rural Uganda being increasingly able to have agency over their own destiny through gaining skills, confidence and economic independence.
To help us on our way, we are thrilled to announce that Spanish retailer Slow Love and Sendra are launching a fab new pair of statement boots – with the profits going entirely to benefit Communities for Development’s projects!
We can’t thank them enough for supporting the empowerment of women in Bulambuli. Now that’s style with conscience…
So remember, this International Women’s Day #BeBoldForChange – help empower the women of Bulambuli and around the world.
By Sarah Bradbury, CfD Campaign Manager. Interviews by Pilar Tejon, CfD Co-founder. To get yourself a pair of kick-ass kicks with proceeds to Communities for Development, please visit here. For more information about International Women’s Day visit this link.
Spread the word!