For long there have been varied sentiments about the feminist movement in Uganda especially from young women, a question we needed to engage with especially in the wake of rebuilding the feminist movement in Uganda.
Faced with this catch-22, AMwA in partnership with EASSI hosted the 1st Uganda Feminist Conversation under the theme “Redefining Our Feminist Agenda”. The Forum that brought together 30 participants from diverse sectors aimed at (1) Developing strategies and plans to inform the women’s movement organizing and day-to-day work; (2) Expanding and strengthening multi-generational network and cohort of feminist leaders in Uganda.
“What is on our minds now, is how we can do much more, how we can organize better, how we can ensure inclusiveness, diversity and support each other better.” Ms. Eunice Musiime, Executive Director AMwA)
Throughout the conversations young women shared their experiences of interacting with the Uganda feminist movement, openly expressing their views on what was working well and areas for improvement. “Emerging Themes” were identified through the sessions that included identity, defining feminism, diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality. A common understanding of what it means to be a feminist within the framework of the African Feminist Charter was reached and wider support for the objectives of the Uganda feminist movement mobilized as members recommitted and / signed up to be members of Uganda Feminist Forum. Inspired to create a vibrant movement members shared visions of rebuilding the movement, assessing strategies and planning for their ideal UFF
Overall, the workshop was informative - participants were engaged in interactive strategic discussions that allowed them to delve further into specific issues and to share their own experiences and define the roles and responsibilities in creating an enabling environment for the feminist movement to flourish.
“Perhaps as a movement there is need to ask ourselves that when we say one voice to also not get into the slippery slope of saying that that one voice has to really look at a very narrow definition of what that voice should be; that that voice should be in certain kind of body, or certain ethnic group, or certain orientation or religion, but that it can be all those thing but what you ground yourselves in is a shared ideology and a road map of where you what to be.” Feminist
“I am just urging my fellow sisters here that feminists will be different as different as our fingerprints and we will have very different places will be coming from. So for me, I don’t look at feminism as feminism but as feminists. The place where we connect is our oppressions.” Feminist Activist
“The common enemy for us is patriarchy it does not matter which feminist you are or choose to identify as, it’s about dismantling the system so let’s also be careful not to turn on each other and forget what we are supposed to be achieving. How we choose to identify ourselves and make a difference is entirely up to each and every one of us.” Feminist Activist
“Our ideological task as feminists is to understand this system and our political task is to end it. Even if you look at the political situation in our country so much thrives because we refuse to understand what we do not agree with. If we could just be open to understanding especially what we do not agree with. I think that in itself is progress because people equate understanding to acceptance. Understanding gives, you power to engage from an informed point of view but also it means that whatever action you are taking to dismantle patriarchy are more strategic” Young Feminist
Reflecting on the conversations AMwA sought to create an online platform for feminist conversations. It is hoped that this platform will provide an in-depth appreciation of the feminism and prepare the young feminists for the UFF scheduled to take place in November 2017.