On the 7th of August 2021, Africa Unite conducted a human rights information session on Women’s Rights in the Burlington community, facilitated by one of the peer educators. The aim of the session was to stand together with the community in the protection of women’s rights, women’s safety, women’s health, and families. Recognizing the strength of our vibrant and diverse community members in Burlington, we had to create a platform for them to discuss the human rights issues they are facing as women, the dialogue brought an estimated 70 people onto the conversation. Throughout its planning and execution, the session also shed light on long-discussed challenges for the women’s rights violation including issues of inclusiveness and equality.
It was highlighted that South Africa was still lagging with a lack of openness towards gender inclusivity which was a major barrier towards achieving gender equality. With this, participants elucidated that great strides needs to be made as most women were still occupying informal economic spaces as the economic was run by the few elites. To elaborate further, the participants explained that such barriers need to be broken and support women to take part even in the corporate economic world.
One participant posited that
“gender inclusivity can contribute in the development of women and make them independent to manage their own lives.”
This was important as most women face abuse in the hands of their partners focusing on how they can sustain themselves if they leave their abusive partners. At the same time, it was raised that men need to be mobilized to support women’s initiatives as their support was greatly needed towards the achievement of gender inclusivity. In conclusion, women were also cautioned that women’s rights also come with responsibilities so as to build cohesive societies and to curb household conflicts.
In conclusion, it was recommended that such sessions must target both genders to attain a balanced society that values everyone’s rights without any exclusion. This was important as there was an outcry that advocating for rights has been long one-sided yet men also experience abuse.