I am Generation Equality: Immaculate Akello, climate change activist and lawyer standing up for rural women in Northern Uganda
Billions of people across the world stand on the right side of history every day. They speak up, take a stand, mobilize, and take big and small actions to advance women’s rights. This is Generation Equality.
Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Three things you can do to become part of Generation Equality:
- Run entrepreneurship trainings in rural communities to empower rural women.
- Advocate for fair and equal pay.
- Run girls’ clubs in schools and inter-generational sessions to mentor young women.
I am Generation Equality because…
I speak up for women's rights because someone spoke up for me. Someone else fought tooth and nail to ensure that I have spaces that empower me, as a young woman. In that same spirit I speak for women's rights, to make the world a place where young women have their rights respected, where they are able to thrive towards becoming the best possible version of themselves.
What are the most urgent issues of our time?
In my view, the four most urgent issues of our time are: climate change, violence against women and girls, ‘boy preference’ resulting in education gaps between women and men, and the gender pay gap.
What’s your advice to young people on actions they can take?
Firstly, I would like to ask every young person to step up so that others are not stepped on. I would advise them to create safe spaces for women who are struggling mentally and emotionally, spaces for them to share their pain without the fear of being judged. I would ask young people to advocate for the implementation of gender-sensitive laws and policies, and petition parliament to repeal repressive laws. I would ask them to advocate for tax holidays for rural women-led businesses and encourage rural women to register. I would ask them to create saving schemes for rural women and offer them financial advice and trainings. They can advocate for shelters for survivors of gender-based violence at district levels, and for increased funding towards maternal health. I would ask them to create girls clubs in schools… The list endless, so let us BE BOLD FOR CHANGE.
“The list of actions that young people can take is endless, so let us BE BOLD FOR CHANGE.”
Climate change is a generational problem, rural women are one of the most affected groups by climate change. In order to address the gendered impact of climate change here is what people can do:
- Encourage families to plant more fruit-bearing trees and encourage them to find a market for those fruits.
- Establish forests that will provide sustainable firewood to rural women.
How can men be a part of the solution (in ending violence against women and girls)
Men can be made ambassadors and champion the fight against gender-based violence. Men can be engaged through storytelling and videography where they use technology to teach others why women need safe spaces and why it matters to all of us, irrespective of gender. Men should act as a representation of the spirit of being stronger together by being put at the forefront of championing ending violence against women.
Why should everyone be a women’s rights activist?
Women shape the future because they mature into future leaders. By becoming a women's rights activist, you are not only creating enabling societies for yourself, your daughters, sisters and mothers but also for your sons, brothers and fathers.
Immaculate Akello, aged 25, is a climate change activist and lawyer whose work is transforming the lives of rural women in northern Uganda living along the so-called shea belt community. Akello is the founder of Generation Engage Network, an organization that champions environmental rights and environmental democracy in Northern and Central Uganda.