FEMINIST FRIDAY INITIATIVE
Once a month for more than a year these young activists have gathered people with different backgrounds to put feminism on the Zambian agenda
Changurufaru Chibesa is a young lawyer from Lusaka. Changu, as everyone calls her, felt the unfair consequences of sexism on Zambian women, when one of her lecturers proclaimed while teaching that ‘there is no rape in marriage’. It alarmed her in many ways. The statement itself was one thing; even worse was the fact that it came from an educational authority. Changu felt an urge to take a closer look at the extent of the problem and at how Zambian law addressed the problem. She ended up dedicating a lot of her time to the subject and decided to focus on it in her final thesis called ‘A feminist perspective on marital rape in Zambia’.
As a self-proclaimed introvert person, Changu felt that she was unable to share her views on the subject with others to discuss the importance of gender equality in Zambia.
Changu’s first meeting with ActionAid Global Platform Zambia was when she participated in a feminist leadership training. The training gave her a chance to meet with women and men with different backgrounds and provided her with practical perspectives on her studies and passion for the topic. She found herself rediscovering feminism through a different lens while learning about other young people’s views on gender roles and stereotypes. Her personal cause suddenly became a joint cause. It gave her the space and confidence to develop different ways to spread the important message.
After the training and a process of self-discovery Changu conceptualised and initiated a new monthly event called Feminist Friday together with a group of activists she had met during the training. The first Feminist Friday was held on March 31, 2017 and hosted at the Global Platform.
- Feminist Friday is the first space exclusively dedicated to feminism in Zambia – a space where women and men can meet to discuss feminism, share experiences and prepare strategies for incorporating feminism into different spheres of society. The monthly event has from time to time struggled with misinterpretation and low attendance. But through creative methodologies it has slowly gained momentum and managed to reach more people. Today the event is increasingly being visited by men, which was a main goal right from the start – to emphasise that feminism is relevant to everyone.
- Feminist Friday has run every last Friday of the month – and will continue to do so. And Changu and the rest of the activists behind the event are planning to continue their efforts to put feminism and equality on the Zambian agenda for as long as it takes.