United Nation's 2018 Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) (Lebo's Blog, pt 1)

Soul City CEO, Lebo Ramafoko, is attending the United Nation's 2018 Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

Dear friends,

I am writing to you from New York where I am attending the United Nation's 2018 Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). I am accompanied by Nadeli Chirwa, our Rise brand ambassador.

The theme of this year's conference is 'Challenges and Opportunities in Achieving Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Rural Women and Girls.'

This week, Nadeli and I are sharing the real lived experiences of young women in South Africa who urgently need jobs to provide for their daily survival and right to dignity; for the rural girls who walk miles to school in the fierce heat of high summer and the freezing cold of winter, and for the many young women who live under the dark shadow of domestic violence and abuse.

On Monday, the Rozaria Memorial Trust hosted an intergenerational dialogue in which young women engaged with older women. They shared insights and issues they faced as young women, and the mentorship roles that older woman can play. This pivoted around the core concept of creating safe spaces for women.

Naledi led the dialogue, speaking about her experience as a young black woman in South Africa and her work at the community level as an activist.

Other young women from countries around the world also shared their experiences. One important issue they highlighted was how women could access safe abortions; that this is an issue of public health - and, as a public policy question, it should not be framed as a moral issue.

The inhumane practise of female genital mutilation was also an issue that was raised, as well as the persistent patterns of gender-based violence, and the ongoing tragedy of child marriage.

There was unanimous agreement that women should continue to build networks with other women from different African countries to continue to smash patriarchal attitudes that are holding them back from achieving their full human rights and potential.

We felt that it is especially important that these conversations take place where the continent's most marginalised women reside.

Here are some of the pictures of yesterday's dialogue.

Best wishes,

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