Page 11

*ISSUE 23 28PG

11/18/07

4:56 PM

Page 11

International: Solidarity exchange with Tanzania

Women who flew South in solidarity EIGHT women from the Community Development Programme and other community projects visited Tanzania in September in an act of solidarity to take part in the 2007 Gender Festival, held annually in the capital, Dar es Salaam. The eight included: Aoife Cooke – Tallaght Intercultural Action, Breda Murphy – Waterford Women’s Centre, Jo Lambe – Open Door Network, Niamh Farren – the Media Co-op, Sarah Oates – Tuam CDP and Sarah-Beth

Watkins – Templeshannon CDP. The group’s visit was hosted by the Tanzanian Gender Networking Programme (TGNP) an organisation that works for gender equality, social transformation and women’s empowerment. The aim of the exchange was realised through meetings with women’s groups, economic empowerment projects and policy workers. It is part of an exchange being organised by Banúlacht. More info: www.banulacht.ie and www.tgnp.org

Tanzania: Men join women against patriarchy environment through the pillaging of Tanzania’s own natural resources (water being one major example). The list goes on but what shocked us even more was that men too were making these demands. A young man stood up and told the crowd that he believed women to be an important part of society and that patriarchy must end.

SARAH-BETH WATKINS reports TRAVELLING to the North of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar meant a hectic trip with 8 flights over 13 days but it truly gave an eye opening view of the struggles African women face, the society they are hoping to change and the transformation that has already begun through the hard work of the African feminist movement. The Gender Festival run by the Tanzanian Gender Networking Programme (TGNP) is a 4-day event for sharing skills, experience and capacity. It’s a celebration of women too. Discussions were held on bodily integrity, water rights, struggles over natural resources,

The sessions ended with participants making demands of their government. Not the softer recommendations that we might offer but challenging demands. HIV, gender based violence, corruption and much more. And the sessions ended with participants making demands of their government. Not the softer recommendations that we might offer but challenging demands and a call for immediate response and action. changing ireland

Role-playing victims and aggressors.

Petitions were signed and later presented to the respective ministers. “We are not all victims. We are very good doers,” said Mary Rusimbi of TGNP, “Yes, there is trouble in Africa but there is also organising.” This year saw the 8th Gender Festival organised by the Tanzanian Gender Networking Programme (TGNP). It was entitled ‘African Feminist Struggles in the Context of Globalisation’. We had an idea of the poverty and struggles African women face but the Gender Festival showed us their strength. The women are strong and they are vocal. I watched as women grabbed the microphones to tell the audience that rural women demand an education, that women must be involved in the national economy, that combating patriarchy is a must, and that women will no longer sit by and watch large transnational companies destroy their

11

This was gender being discussed in a way that those of us who work in women-only spaces found challenging. Men were as vocal here as women. He was followed by a male university teacher who added that women can also be patriarchal and oppressive of their own gender. Women present agreed and also spoke of men suffering from patriarchy. This was gender being discussed in a way that those of us who work in women-only spaces found challenging. Men were as vocal here as women. Did this put women and their issues in the shade? Or was there more of a balance here than we had expected? Was gender equality really working? It took a visit to rural Mwanza for us to realise that women were still being oppressed and abused. The balance was still far from being equal. old proverb: a heavy purse makes for a light heart

Profile for CHANGING IRELAND

CHANGING IRELAND 23  

Hot in Issue 23: MAIN STORY: TACKLING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ‘We work with violent men’ (Waterford) Complaints about Code of Conduct on Domestic...

CHANGING IRELAND 23  

Hot in Issue 23: MAIN STORY: TACKLING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ‘We work with violent men’ (Waterford) Complaints about Code of Conduct on Domestic...