I'm going to a women's day celebration this weekend, and for it, I've submitted some photos of women from the village in Burkina where I work. Here they are, with some explanations below:
Burkina Faso is an inspiring country for many reasons: Muslims, Christians and animists live alongside one another as friends and frequently intermarry. The same is true for people of different ethnicities - 4 different ethnicities (and languages) are represented by the women in these photos alone.
Yet in terms of equal opportunities for women, it is less inspiring. FGM was made illegal in 1996 but allegedly still continued in this village until just five years ago. Many men have multiple wives, with age gaps of many decades, but women cannot have multiple husbands. Women cannot own land. Women are judged by their ability to prepare food for their husband and to bear many children.
And in terms of equal opportunities with us, their UK-based counterparts, it is devastating. The majority of families in the village are food insecure, due to a lack of means to purchase food. This means they also lack the means to purchase medicine and medical care when needed. They lack the means to attend school or pay for their children to attend school, meaning that literacy is very low (of the women above, only Albertine can read and write). And they lack the means to visit their birth family, too - women usually marry outside of their home village.
Feminism is solidarity. Please share in the strength, self-confidence and happiness in these photos, and consider acting in your solidarity by contributing to our crowdfunding campaign, or by any other actions - I'll be going back their again this year and will happily take gifts, direct contributions, letters etc.
(I've also put a version of this post on our crowdfunding page as a project lab note)