The Department of International Studies hosted a webinar “What Makes for the Success or Failure of a Social Movement: Perspectives and Experiences from South Africa and India” last March 9, 2021. Ms. Bernedette Muthien, the Director and Project Leader of South Africa’s Engender, and Ms. Sheelu Francis, the Head of India’s Tamil Nadu Women’s Collective served as guest speakers.
Ms. Muthien highlighted the importance of activism and why it should always be practiced everywhere. Activism allows people to raise important issues that need attention from people and the authorities that could allow change. It is important for people to speak up against injustices with the goal of changing the world and making it a better place for everyone. It also allows us to support others in their struggles and let them know that they are being heard and understood. Through activism, it is easier to raise awareness on specific issues which could help influence social change.
Ms. Francis, on the other hand, emphasized the importance of creating a space or platform for all women from different generations to come together and work on possible solutions to address violence against women. Women have always experienced discrimination from inside their homes to their workplaces and even public spaces. By creating a platform that would allow women to have a venue to support each other and to share experiences without judgment, probable solutions to issues may be discussed appropriately. This will then inspire women to be cognizant, to be authentic, and to be the best version of themselves. Having a platform for women would also allow them to feel safer and empowered and would encourage them to amplify their voice.
The conversation with the guest speakers also raised the need for continuous support on women and their rights. Violence against women throughout the world and in different cultures, unfortunately, still exists. Ending it should be a global priority. Despite great achievements made by different women’s rights movements over the years, women and girls are still being trafficked and forced into sex slavery.
Indeed, this webinar was very timely as it addressed the need to pay attention to the successes and barriers for making our society safe and secure for women.
This event was organized by the Graduate Class on Social Movements and Social Change under Ms. Lorna Q. Israel via Google Meet – By Crystal Aura Santos