This feminist writer is demanding big solutions for equality
Girls and Women

This feminist writer is demanding big solutions for equality

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As the world continues to grow digitally, online advocacy is becoming an increasingly essential tool to uplift the voices of everyone fighting inequality.

Rosebell Kagumire is one such voice filling the digital realm. She is a pan-African feminist, writer and award-winning blogger. Her work — published internationally on sites like the Guardian and Quartz — focuses on human rights, peace, conflict and gender equality. In 2008, she was recognized for her work by the Ugandan Investigative Journalism Awards. She was also named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2013.

“People movements will be at the heart of change. Women and girls in their diversity must be at the table … The government must not come to marginalised communities with pre-designed solutions. Let people’s lived experiences and realities lead interventions.”

Currently, Rosebell is the curator and editor for AfricanFeminism, a digital platform working to include feminist voices from every country in Africa. Working with African women is more than a job for her. Rather, her interactions with other women has played a pivotal role in her life and career.

“African women have cleared my way, inspired me to wake up, to fight, to live.”

Making Substantial Change

Rosebell believes that change towards gender equality is possible, but only if those directly impacted are leading the charge.

“People movements will be at the heart of change. Women and girls in their diversity must be at the table … The government must not come to marginalised communities with pre-designed solutions. Let people’s lived experiences and realities lead interventions.”

Though women and girls should be at the forefront, governments and world leaders have a role to play in ensuring equality. But, according to Rosebell, the leadership we need will take more substantial changes than what we often see.

“The kind of leaders we need, however — in whatever fields — will be one who understands that equality and marginalizations aren’t just about individual preferences, but intentional removal of barriers that have been built for generations to exclude.”

There’s many barriers to remove in order to achieve equality. Globally, women only have about three-fourths the rights of men. This has huge implications on women’s ability to enter or advance in the workforce, start or grow a business, complete a secondary education, run for political leadership, and make other crucial life choices.

“We must take a look at structural solutions, not isolated projects of empowerment. You might seem like you are going far by uplifting a few, but when the structure hasn’t shifted, even successful women and girls will hit a wall.”

The digital world where Rosabell thrives is also susceptible to these barriers. In two-thirds of the world’s countries, the proportion of men using the internet is higher than the proportion of women. Without internet access and technology skills, women could get left behind in a world of advancing tech.

As Rosebell says, these barriers are not only a matter of individual experiences. Equality should uplift everyone, but that is only possible when looking at the big picture of inequality.

“We must take a look at structural solutions, not isolated projects of empowerment. You might seem like you are going far by uplifting a few, but when the structure hasn’t shifted, even successful women and girls will hit a wall.”

Continuing Advocacy

Rosebell continues her own fight for equality through reporting on vital issues. Her writing covers a large range of topics, including advertisements that normalize sexism, “women’s curves” as a tourist attraction, and child poverty in Uganda.

She continues a much-needed voice for equality through her writing and editing. For her (and for all of us), feminist advocacy must continue until we achieve genuine equality.

“Until patriarchy and other intersecting oppressions like racism are still around to keep women down, we will continue to need feminism.”

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