Building vibrant and tolerant democracies
Currently though, in the region, of great concern is the dwindling vibrancy of the women’s movements both nationally and regionally – a situation which has been correctly attributed to a range of factors, including a diminishing resource base, limited capacity and ability to effectively mobilise and organise around new challenges such as HIV and AIDS, among other issues. Other key challenges for women’s movement building include the ‘NGO-ization’ of movements, which has resulted in sectoral, erratic and often scattered engagement of feminist voices in the public domain. The ongoing assaults on women’s bodies, lives and activism has in many ways also burnt out many activists, groups and in some cases initiatives.
One startling reason is an obvious and apparent lack of connection between many initiatives and the participation of poor grassroots and young women in organising actions for transformation. The challenge for women’s groups is to ensure the revival of movements that are visible, strong and diverse enough to result in concrete and sustainable change.