Arts expo focuses on gender equity
ORGANISERS of the upcoming “Women in Resistance” ( Femmes en Résistance), which celebrates the role of women in society, say the series of artistic and cultural events are meant to bring more awareness on issues of gender equality.
The events, which will run from 5 to 30 May 2015, are an initiative of Alliance Française de Maseru (AF), in conjunction with the European Union, United Nations Development Programme ( UNDP), Vodacom Lesotho, Standard Lesotho Bank, the US Embassy and Hillside Digital Trust.
Speaking at a press briefing on Monday at Alliance Française de Maseru (AF), the organisers said the events are meant to shine the spotlight on women and their struggles, which remain largely unknown due to limited media coverage.
Among those present at the press briefing was AF Director Camille Pedereau, US Embassy Public Affairs Officer Julie Mckay, Governance Programme Manager in the Delegation of EU Mariam Homayoun, UNDP HIV/AIDS Gender Officer Melina Sifnaiou, Hillside Digital Trust Founder and CEO Danny Lurie and its Research Advocacy and Policy consultant Mpho Letima.
They described “Women in Resistance” as a “perfect opportunity” to showcase the success stories of those who have made it in life to inspire young women.
“Lesotho is also part of the global discussion on gender equality, yet customary law still favours boys over girls when it comes to inheritance,” Letima said, giving reference to the case of Senate Masupha who has been fighting a protracted battle for the ’Mamathe chieftainship.
“Our aim is to try and close the gap between men and women by engaging the audience in a discussion on the implementation of customary law.
“We would like to engage men in a healthy fashion as they are needed to make the equality work.”
Homayoun also chipped in, saying the exhibitions are meant to show that Basotho women are not defined by their circumstances but are proactive in their fight to improve their situation.
“We would like to see women as the drivers of development and also inspire young women to be entrepreneurs,” Homayoun said.
The aim, the organisers added, is also to inspire young people through examples of women who stood for a cause on different levels, be it institutional or informal.
The exhibitions will feature inspirational Basotho women such as Masupha, Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara, and ‘Mareitumetse Mokhoro who is an activist fighting for the rights of factory workers.
According to the programme, Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso will officially open the lineup of events, followed by a performance from Serumula Choir.
Other activities lined up during the period will also include a European Union round table on 6 May at Lesotho Sun Hotel, a school drawing competition on 11 May, cinema night on 14 May and a cooking workshop three days later.
The screening of the film A Woman’s Place courtesy of the UNDP and Hillside Digital will also feature a debate led by the latter’s director, Pat Van Heerden, on 22 May. The closing ceremony will be held at Morija Museum.
One of the main attractions will be the exhibition of photographs taken by Frenchman Pierre-yves Ginet over the course of the last 15 years, showing women’s struggles all over the world for equality, justice, democracy, dignity and survival.
From left: US Embassy Public Affairs Officer Julie Mckay, AF Director Camille Pedereau and Delegation of the EU Governance Programme Manager Mariam Homayoun address the press briefing on Monday.