Every year, March 8 is the occasion to celebrate the International Women’s Rights Day. A date for the reflection and capitalization of the social, economic and political achievements of the struggle for the advancement of women worldwide. March 8 is also, in many ways, an opportunity to look forward to the future. In this regard, for the 2021 edition, PLACE for Africa went to meet several young girls on the African continent. Giving them the floor, from Conakry in Guinea to Libreville in Gabun, through Cotonou in Benin and Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, they shared on the microphone and in front of PLACE for Africa´s camera the definition they have of this day but also the future they dream of for women’s rights in 30 years, by 2030.
March 8 as a self-affirmation
Beyond the festive normalization around this day, for the young girls and women interviewed, this day should be a date to commemorate the achievements of women in several sectors. It should also be a moment to focus on the normative evolution in favor of women’s rights in society. Consequently, the panel invites a reappropriation of this day in order to capitalize on the required assets to aspire to more for a female majority facing a male minority. For them, the fight is far from being won because the patriarchy sees the empowerment of women as a kind of attack on the so-called traditional values, even on African societal values.
It would be unjustified not to recognize the efforts, albeit minimal, of the governments to create a legislative and regulatory corpus for the development of women through their socio-professional integration and their family development in Africa. Nevertheless, there are still efforts to be made at the level of the application of these standards but also of the structures of accompaniment for the respect of these standards. For many of our speakers, the liberation of the word appears as the fatal weapon. It is necessary to liberate the word, to grant more space and time to women because, as Hadja Idrissa from Conakry in Guinea underlines it, “only one day could not be enough”. In order to aspire not to a brutal change in front of a process that slowly took place, it is necessary to start step by step, in particular by the deconstruction and construction of mentalities to install a system of parity.
Education as a winning bet for the empowerment of women
The aspiration of young people to change but also to access higher levels of responsibility in the future remains their guiding principle. It is necessary to overcome social and mental barriers to deconstruct an idea of stagnation and to accompany young women and girls to dream big. For that, efforts are to be made in the field of education and the accompaniment of the young girls. As Fatoumata Timbonké Diallo from Guinea said so well in her interview, education is no longer to be presented as an opportunity. In the sustainable, fair and equitable society that young girls dream of, education has a place of choice and therefore, it must be an obligation and not a favor granted by some to the girl.
We can rightly agree to see this intangible wealth as a means for the young girl of today and the woman of tomorrow to find a way out for her development but also to feel more integrated and to play a major role in society.
Text : NGo Mai kibassahak Cécile