Building vibrant and tolerant democracies
Given that women are in the majority in southern Africa, one would expect that the biggest slice of the funding cake would go towards them, but this is sadly not the case. Research has in fact proved that the majority of the population – women and girls – has the smallest share. “We saw a clear picture of shortages across different funding sectors – cutbacks within many donor agencies or inaccessibility of many funding sources for the large majority of women’s organisations. Recognising that women’s organisations play vital roles in advancing women’s rights and gender equality, it was alarming to see that between half and two-thirds of the women’s organisations surveyed reported annual budgets of less than US$50,000.”1 There are a number of reasons for this – and they particularly affect young women who are trying to mobilise and organise in the region.
Until recently, there was little understanding of the specific impact of human rights violations on young women or recognition of the critical role young women play in realising women’s rights and tackling global challenges. Today, because of concerted advocacy by youth activists, the situation is very different. Governments, multilateral institutions, private sector initiatives and civil society are increasingly adding a focus on young women to development programmes, and channelling some resources toward addressing the specific challenges and obstacles faced by young women.