Hi all, MaryBeth here, back with the third in our series of FP2030 dispatches from Women Deliver, where 6,000 gender equality advocates are gathered in Kigali to talk sexual reproductive health and rights and other key, interlinked issues.
I’ve been reflecting on the quote above from Sivananthi, an amazing feminist leader and visionary. How are we at FP2030 letting young feminists lead? How are we letting the Global South lead?
Our side event last night – Equity Means Everyone – was a great example of how FP2030 seeks to live up to its values of taking leadership from young activists from the Global South.
In a festive atmosphere, Dr. Samu Dube kicked off the event with an urgent call to tackle the combined impact of patriarchy and colonialism in the lives of women, girls, and gender diverse groups. She powerfully underscored that no one can be left behind in the journey to sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality.
Two young feminist activists brought this call to life. Zawadi Mashego, a queer artist and activist from South Africa, urged us to consider the mental and spiritual health of queer people, including when developing reproductive health services. Menstrual health activist Tanzila Khan from Pakistan talked about her realization that stigma around menstruation and a lack of public accommodations like ramps are both significant barriers to menstrual health. She showed us that the solutions can be simple: when designing a reproductive health program, simply look at it from the perspective of someone with a disability. What a profoundly important (and relatively easy) ask!
I was also impressed by Diana Rodriguez Franco from the office of the Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia. She offered a prime example of sexual and reproductive health and rights leadership coming from municipal offices to complement and respond to the demands of civil society. Her vision of highly diverse alliances on caregiving, abortion rights, family planning, mental health, and economic empowerment opened a window on the possibilities of progressive, feminist policy implementation at the local level.
At the end of the event, I really felt that if we decide it, the leadership of the Global South, the leadership of young feminists can show us all the way. This is the core of decolonizing that Dr. Samu referred to. It was also the theme of our Women Deliver Global Dialogue webinar a few weeks ago, which features Sivananthi as a panelist. I highly recommend you check out the recording in English, Spanish, or French.
This has been an exciting week! If you’re here in Kigali with us, don’t forget to visit our booth, Akagera 25-27, for a chance to play FP2030 Bingo and win a contraceptive pin of your choosing. Stay tuned for more tomorrow!