Women's Coalition launches feminism book

HARARE - Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) yesterday launched a book documenting the advent of the feminist movement in the country.

A beautiful strength, a journal of 80 years of Women’s Rights Movement and Activism in Zimbabwe since 1936 traces its roots to Murewa where the movement was started by Helen Mangwende.

In an interview with the Daily News, WCoZ chairperson Pamela Mhlanga said the book has anchored the opportunity for women to really look forward as a movement.

“As activists, we do not document our achievements and failures, hence the compilation of the journal. It serves to inspire those who will come after us and even those who are currently in the women’s movement.

“In this publication we are tracing women’s activism over 80 years, what women then and now are experiencing in their quest for equality,” Mhlanga told the Daily News.

She said some issues remain the same despite the changing times and generations adding that the manner in which women respond to those issues will show whether they have learnt or not.

Mhlanga said there is a whole inter-generational process happening where young women are finding their voice in the movement while also learning from the older women who have knowledge and wisdom.

“Issues are still essentially the same but what now needs to be done is tackle them differently because times have changed.

“We need to broaden our activism so that it is not only confined to organised women’s groups but grassroots mobilisation with individuals leading.

“For example, there are new forms of gender based violence, there is now revenge pornography and stalking through the internet and social networking platforms,” said Mhlanga.

“That requires a new set of skills and resources and that is (a) challenge where we need to adapt to the changes as a feminist movement. We need now to identify how we can bring on board those who identify with our agenda but are not as visible in the daily struggle.

“We need a lot of grassroots mobilisation so that the average woman identified that the struggle for equality is essentially the struggle for transformation of our society,” she added.

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