RWA Lesotho Celebrates International Women\’s Day

The day 8th March is marked as the International Women’s Day, it was first celebrated in 1911, in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.  It has become a date to celebrate how far women have come in society, in politics and in economics. The struggle of women is of no doubt that it has been there long before colonization and continues even after independence. Women have been oppressed by the patriarchal system that has been there since the stone age and it still exists today and is just changing phases. But women have done a lot of work to fight gender inequality and injustice.

Rural Women’s Assembly Lesotho this year celebrated the IWD in a different style, the day was during their annual general meeting which was held in the capital city, Maseru. The women had a chance to reflect on their work, which is mostly derived from their struggle for land, gender-based violence, capitalism, better health systems, education and better working environments. Most of the struggles that women in Lesotho face are caused by gender inequality, capitalism, unstable political environment and injustice. Lesotho women’s struggles are not isolated from what other women across the globe are facing. 

The women in the meeting talked about the importance of leadership and its styles. This was for them to be able to go back and educate women in their respective villages so that they can be able to stand up and take leadership positions, and not just to be in charge but to be able to be the voice of the rural women in political spaces where women are not elected. The women agreed that to change the system that seems to be continuously suppressing them they need to be radical feminists.

One of the most important weapons that the women said they will use is to be seen everywhere talking about their rights to owning land, as they are the ones that have to provide food for their families. Their struggle to have access to farming inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides has left them with nothing but to look for other alternatives. They agreed that it is very important for them to continue developing their own household seed banks which will help them feed into the village seed bank they will have. They agreed that traditional methods of farming are still a way to go considering the economy and availability and climate change. They urged for better innovation of technology that can help them do their work better and faster. 

The highlight of the day was when women wrote a letter to their daughter telling them what they always wanted them to know, but couldn’t get the courage to, especially about what the cultural practices that are wrong and have become a norm which continue to oppress women. Even though women have done a lot and are still doing a lot it looks like there is little to know about their situation. More work still needs to be done especially in Lesotho where current laws are outdated and not responsive to today’s life.

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