I am Generation Equality – Thina Maphosa, gender activist

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.


Thina Maphosa (Photo: Thina Maphosa)
Thina Maphosa (Photo: Thina Maphosa)

Three concrete steps everyone can take to be an activist for ending violence against women and girls:

  • VAWG is not a private matter, so break the silence and speak out!
  • Support survivors, listen and don’t judge!
  • Create safe spaces and improve availability and accessibility of services for survivors

I am Generation Equality because…

I grew up in a rural area where men’s negative actions were not questioned. We would travel long distances to school, to fetch water, to get to the shopping center and that increased our vulnerability/risk to violation in public spaces. When young girls got violated, they would be blamed for it. This got me thinking, “This thing is wrong, we keep getting violated and being blamed for it.” I grew up with a passion to address gender issues and I was motivated to work towards ending violence against women. Violence against women and girls is a human rights problem and a gender inequality problem. Countering gender inequality is central to attaining progress on ending violence against women.

Reflections on the Generation Equality Action Coalition

Addressing gender-based violence is the catalyst on addressing gender power imbalances. The Action Coalition (AC) offers a holistic and multi-disciplinary approach to advocacy, offering us a chance to advocate together on achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment. It also offers a place for learning and resource sharing. Being in the AC has made me learn a lot on what other GBV AC commitment makers and AC Leaders are doing to end VAWG. What we have done as YES! Trust is localizing the global HeforShe movement as part of our commitments, we have established men’s clubs where discussions are centered around positive masculinity. We are also engaging traditional leaders as custodians of culture to set up by-laws that promote positive masculinity and denounce issues like teenage pregnancy.

I’m proud that in the past two – three years that I’ve been working in ending violence against women and girls, there has been coordination for women rights organizations to speak in one voice that violence must end. It is possible as women for us to achieve better and inspire others. YES! Trust is also delving further into the issues of local governance with the upcoming election in Zimbabwe to prevent violence against women in elections. We will also continue advancing our efforts in movement building, and foster cooperation and teamwork at the community level to end violence against women.

Support youth organizations

Youth organizations are vibrant and grounded in innovative strategies to reach the youth demographic. Our advocacy also recognizes the multidimensional and lived experiences of youth. As young people, we understand the intersecting forms of discrimination and we can move away from traditional ways of reaching out to communities so that we can use tools like edutainment to reach a wider demography. As YES! Trust, we have established structures at the grassroot, and we promote communities to work on solutions to end violence against women within themselves that work for them.

Solidarity with women’s movements

There’s a lot of siloed approaches to EVAWG. The support and solidarity in movements adds to the strength in numbers. It also enables skills, ideas, and resources to be shared, and larger coverage achieved. Strategic leadership is needed for continued, collective, focused advocacy. The bigger the movement, the more impact.

Thina Maphosa is a 38-year-old activist and Head of Programmes at YES! Trust Zimbabwe. She is also chair of the GBV Technical Advisory group for AfriHealth and a member of the National Training Team for Women Rights in Politics in Zimbabwe.