Women's empowerment can not simply be defined in one way, and can take on many different shapes and forms. A simple definition could be: the harnessing of a womans ability to transform her community, society and economy through development and to equip other women to be able to fully participate in the decisions that directly impact their lives.
Womens organisations and feminism empowerment networks are fast realising that creating fair and equal opportunities for women in a male dominated society is not an unachievable feat; and is in fact strengthened by platforms that exist to allow women, from young to old, to express themselves and let their voices be heard.
The theme of this years festival was empowerment, and that was exactly what the Southern African Young Women's Festival held in Harare, Zimbabwe from the 24th to the 28th of October at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, provided to the young women that travelled from all over Southern Africa to participate in the festival.
Feminism, Women and Empowerment
Organised and co-hosted by The Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa (OSISA), the Youth Empowernment and Transformation Trust (YETT) and other hosts of womens organisations, the festival brought together young women from countries such as Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland, Mozambique, Malawi and the DRC.
The aim of the festival was simple; to create a safe space and platform for young women to come together and share their experiences with each other, to celebrate their diversity and potential in advocating and lobbying for social justice in their individual communities and towns. Young women from all over the SADC region were able to use the safe place created by the festival to discuss issues that affect them in their respective communities.
With the majority of most platforms and youth spaces created and dominated by men, the festival catered to the need for women to have a safe place away from criticism and questioning to discuss the issues affecting them on a daily basis in their societies. Issues that were discussed by the young women at the festival ranged from female sexuality, unemployment and poverty to HIV and AIDS.
Importantly, the festival also aimed at fostering intergenerational dialogue amongst the elder generation of women and the younger generation. As society changes at an alarming rate, the issues that women have faced over the years have changed shape and form and so must the strategies used to overcome them.
Even though the festival was filled with the excitement of panel discussions, debate and dialogue sessions, talk shows, music and film shows, it also offered training on skills to equip young women with the information needed for the effective advocacy of women's rights. Overall, the Southern African Youngs Women's Festival was a resounding success and will be echoed by young women empowering their nations across the SADC region and across Africa.
Read more at Suite101: Women Empowerment in Zimbabwe http://www.suite101.com/content/women-empowerment-in-zimbabwe-a305722#ix...