Patriarchy. Power. Sex.
These are the concepts that young women in Zambia are grappling with at the Young Women’s Leadership Camp. Patriarchy – through institutions like the family, tradition and culture, education and the media – controls women’s sexuality as a way to maintain power and the status quo. In a context where conservative religious beliefs and politics are woven into the social fabric, the choices for young women are limited. If you choose not to marry or have children, decide to have an abortion or a same sex relationship you are seen as an aberration, as someone who needs to be “fixed”. Talking about S-E-X and sexuality, reproductive and sexual rights as we experience them as individuals is revolutionary. The camp is igniting and supporting young women’s activism, creating spaces to talk about the big issues that affect their lives, work and more, and strengthening political analytical tools.
In the words of some of the participants:
The power framework got me thinking there are a lot of pressures we face, decisions we make without thinking about what influences us – it was an eye opener – I could identify forces at play. – Tsekai Makwelele Chityaba
We live in a diverse society. When we think about sex and sexualities, we are thinking about ‘penis’ and ‘vagina’ but there are other forms of having sex so we need to bear this in mind when talking about sex. – Chanda Buumba KatongoI learned more about the issue of choice – as a person I can have certain beliefs but what is important is that every women has the right to choose – my own values or opinions should not hinder another person’s access to (SRH) services. – Nana Zulu