A SERIES of events have been lined up from 1 to 10 September 2016 to explore the challenges affecting women and celebrate the strides they have made since Lesotho’s Independence in 1966.
The events are a result of the collaboration between Alliance Française de Maseru (AF), Sesotho Media & Development (SM&D), Morija Museum, The Hub, the Nala Project, Embassy of the United States of America and Africa Women’s Agenda (AWA).
According to a press statement issued by AF this past week, the events will be held under the theme “50 Years of Women in Lesotho”.
“Since the Independence of Lesotho on 4 October 1966, the role and importance of women in the life of the country has changed, and they now share responsibilities previously restricted to men,” reads the statement.
“From education to law, security, health, business and the arts among others, women are playing a larger role, sometimes a leading role.
“Nonetheless, many women feel they are still facing challenges, including sexual abuse and violence, restrictive social attitudes, lack of access to credit and de facto discrimination even where legal reforms have been carried out.”
The statement adds: “As such, various initiatives need to be strengthened if they are to play a fuller and equal role with men in society and overcome certain genuine obstructions that remain in order to realise a more balanced and positive dynamic in their homes, organisations, businesses and the broader society.”
The activities will kick start on 1 September at AF premises in Maseru with the inauguration of the exhibition “Women in Resistance, Morija” showcasing exceptional women contributing to bettering the Morija community.
The next day, a 21-minute documentary film titled Mollong/The Meeting will be screened at AF premises by Steps for SM&D. The film covers themes such as sexual and gender-based violence, the cycle of abuse within families, gender, culture and tradition, breaking the silence about abuse, access to support structures, psychosocial support, healing, women’s and children’s rights.
On 3 September, a workshop titled “Women Empowerment and Girl-child Emancipation Celebration” will be held in Ha-Mamathe village in Teyateyaneng. The seminar will be held by AWA – an organisation that advocates and lobbies for women and girl-children’s rights and welfare.
American motivational speaker and HIV/AIDS activist, Hydeia Broadbent, will host a conference in the American Corner at the State Library on 8 September, which is meant to motivate women in all the challenges they face.
The following day, a monthly discussion forum “Speak Up 4 Lesotho” will be held in the AF Hall. The forum is a collaboration between Alliance Française and Morija Museum with independent panelists addressing issues such as the place of women in modern Basotho society, in governance and advances made in their legal rights as well as the changes in men’s mentality.
A craft market will also be open at AF premises for all the days of the celebrations showcasing the creativity and talent of women. The Nala Project will also have a music, poetry and fashion show in honour of women in Lesotho which running from 5 to 10 of September.