Speak Out: Young African Feminists Advocate For Women, Girls and Children Everywhere

The world has galvanized support to demonstrate increased political commitment towards the advancement of maternal and child health. This is very timely especially the 2 having been noted and proven to be preventable with the simplest of interventions. Also the two constitute the biggest chunk of the unfinished business of the Millenium Development Goals. The voices of women, adolescents and especially girls on how to improve their health should be incorporated to ensure any planning or policy set out to deal with health is informed by daily lived realities of women and girls everywhere.

A number of issues have been normalized yet are detrimental to women’s health and have been ignored for a long time. As such, public policies have continued to only prioritize investment cases to drive conversations pertaining women and girls health without giving due attention to the inherent rights of women and girls and the central role  health plays towards achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment . Women and girls experience multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination that continue to limit and hinder altogether their full and equal participation in society. These systemic and structural barriers must be critically analysed and solutions put forth to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment in totality.

The intersectionalities that women and girls find themselves in the midst of must be reflected in policies legislating on issues that affect their lives. Health especially is an area that governments must invest in to ensure women and girls live fulfilling and satisfying lives. Women’s Health; is one of the critical areas of the Beijing platform of Action and integral to the International Conference on Population and Development Program of Action . Building upon these policies that are progressive in regard to women’s health will ensure that organically we prioritize women’s health including all aspects of it to integrate their Sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Young African Feminists; From Mali, Kenya to Mozambique, is a network of young African women determined to promote and advance African women’s agency, identifying  with feminist principles and seeking to ensure that issues pertaining to  women and girls  lives  are addressed while integrating  feminist perspectives. These young African women set out to add their voice to the Every Woman Every Child Global Strategy.  It is crucial to note their views stem from their firm belief in the need to address systemic inequalities and structural barriers that have continued to hinder women and girls access to quality health services and hence inhibit their overall contribution to society.

Below is their very compelling statement and am glad that young women have continued to carve a niche and affirm a place for themselves in society. Young women have been continuously edged out of decision making spaces by patriarchal societies yet they have also continued to bear the biggest proportion of burden of  societal injustices. Their voices below reflect of their determined resolve to make their voices heard and introduce a rationale that takes into account the various ways in which women and girls lives interface with global health:

Click here to read their views





Catherine is a Mandela Fellow 2016, Women Deliver Young Leader and member of Youth RISE International working group. Catherine is a passionate young African feminist activist with over 7 years of experience in advancing gender equality, youth development and sexual and reproductive health and rights in the context of sustainable development through movement building, digital and social media, policy advocacy and capacity building for young women and adolescents girls. Catherine is currently Deputy Director at Dandelion Kenya, and sits on the SDGs Kenya Forum coordination committee. Catherine has engaged with various global and regional policy processes such as ICPD Beyond 2014 review, Beijing +20 and the post 2015 development agenda. She co-authored the article ‘Leave No One Behind; Will African Women be left behind in the post 2015 development agenda ,an article published on the East African Business Monthly in February 2015. Catherine launched the #SRHRDialogues, an online advocacy and awareness raising platform on SRHR and #YAFDialogues, an online platform anticipated to be a permanent mobilizing platforms borne out of an African feminist dialogue 2015 in Accra. Follow her on Twitter: @catherinenyamb1

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