I am Generation Equality: Faith Fao Opiyo, a Gender and Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Specialist from Kenya

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: Monday, June 28, 2021

I am Generation Equality
Faith Fao Opiyo, a Gender and Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Specialist. Photo: UN Women/ Tabitha Icuga
Faith Fao Opiyo, a Gender and Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Specialist. Photo: UN Women/Tabitha Icuga

Three things you can do to end Gender-Based Violence:

  • Speak out against GBV
  • Finance efforts towards ending GBV
  • Familiarize yourself with the commitments your government has issued
  • Icon- a girl raises her arm

I am Generation Equality because…

I speak up for women's right because I have indirect experience of gender-based violence (GBV) having grown up in the slums of Nairobi (Kayole and Kariobangi). Violence against women was the order of the day. Many of the women did not know how to stand up and speak out, therefore it has always been my desire to be the voice and amplify the voices of the few women who dare to speak against injustices.

My mothers and sisters already gave us a roadmap in 19925, and I have to continue the fights against GBV in Kenya.

What are the most urgent issues of our time?

The most urgent issues of my generation are comprehensive sexuality information and access to services. This is both for the girls in school and LGBTIQ+ women. This barrier has been catalyzed by statutory and customary laws that also prohibit information and services.

What’s your advice to young people on actions they can take?

Young people should familiarize themselves with the commitments their governments have issued as a roadmap to end harmful practices against women and girls. It is on this backdrop that they are able to advocate and amplify change since they have a point of reference.

What can everyone do to address gender-based violence?

Eliminating GBV requires a multi-sectional approach by different actors. Bringing awareness to the public on how the state, CSOs and the community can play their role can be very effective. Everyone should understand that they are potential candidate of GBV. Therefore,creating safer spaces starts with everyone taking responsibility, this is in terms of speaking out and financing efforts towards ending GBV.

How can men be a part of the solution (in ending violence against women and girls)?

Men can be involved in two ways: as agents of change and as partners. It is very powerful when men call out on men, especially on retrogressive cultural practices that put girls and women at risk, like FGM.

Men should speak out and not be bystanders. It is important to include the men and boys in generation equality conversations not just as participants but as partners as well.

 Why should everyone be a women’s rights activist?

Everyone should be a women's right activist because if a woman is not healthy mentally, socially, economically and politically, then the country's production also slows down and this affects everyone. It is therefore our mandate to ensure a woman is healthy in all aspects in order for them to be empowered to contribute to the development of our economies and the society.