‘Women in Resistance’ exhibition roars into life
QUEEN ‘ Masenate Mohato Bereng Seeiso has lauded the Alliance Francaise de Maseru (AF) initiated “Women in Resistance”, saying the exhibitions would raise awareness on the plight of women and bolster efforts towards their empowerment.
Speaking at the launch of the series of artistic and cultural events celebrating the role of women in society at Ouh La La gardens in Maseru on Tuesday, Her Majesty said: “Women form an important part of society and this series of events will grant us the opportunity to increase our understanding of their role in society.”
The events, which run from 5 to 30 May 2015, are meant to shine the spotlight on women and their struggles, which remain largely unknown due to limited media coverage.
They 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.
Queen ‘ Masenate Mohato Bereng Seeiso, who is also the exhibition’s patron, added that “Women in Resistance” aptly showcases women’s role in society which is characterised by the quest for courage.
“Let us applaud the commitment that women have in this historical journey in pictures and their quest for survival, equality and a struggle to exercise our rights,” she said.
“This also serves as a reminder to all who have witnessed the restructuring policies that opened up doors for women to participate in all facets of development from one community to another.”
Libakiso Mahloko, who spoke on behalf of the Women in Law organisation, said women needed to be aware of their rights and condemn all forms of discrimination by prioritising gender equality as well as condemning the attitudes of male supremacy.
Vodacom Lesotho’s Catherine Mccarthy said the telecommunications giant’s support for the exhibition was in line with their wom- en empowerment drive.
“Over the 19 years of our operations in Lesotho, we have continuously remained committed to empowering Basotho women and young girls by offering them a platform to, not only realise their full potential, but also to be justly recognised as crucial pillars in the development of their communities and the economic growth of the country,” Mccarthy said.
“We recently launched nwomen –– an ini- tiative dedicated to addressing the needs of women in Lesotho through the establishment and support of various projects.”
She further revealed that Vodacom Lesotho would hand over the portraits currently being displayed at the exhibition to Morija Museum after translating them into Sesotho for local communities to understand.
US ambassador to Lesotho, Matthew Harrington, said women empowerment had “dramatically positive” consequences for the de- velopment of societies.
“In most places, women are still undervalued and denied opportunities to contribute, leaving their voices unheard and their health and safety unprotected, which leaves their potential wasted,” said Ambassador Harrington.
“Research shows that progress in women’s employment, health and education can lead to greater economic growth and stronger societies because when women and men are equally empowered as political and social actors, governments are more representative and effective.”
He quoted US President Barack Obama who said: “The best judge of whether or not a country is going to develop is how it treats its women… But if women are oppressed, abused or illiterate, then they are going to fall behind.”
According to Ambassador Harrington, the US had allotted $300 000 (about M3.2 million) to 14 gender advocacy groups for small scale projects and another $225 million to help Lesotho combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Also speaking at the event, the EU ambassador to Lesotho, Michael Doyle, said that the exhibition brought attention to women’s voices who, regardless of circumstances, advocate for their rights, equality and justice thus creating better goals for future generations.however, Ambassador Duynhouwer expressed disappointment with the decrease in the numbers of women in the current government.
Meanwhile, Serumula Performing Arts Academy’s ladies choir entertained the crowd as they viewed the exhibitions.
QUEEN ‘Masenate Mohato Bereng Seeiso (left) tours the “Women in Resistance”exhibition along with Alliance Francaise director Camille Pedereau on Tuesday.