The most powerful movement for change I had witnessed is some ways or the other is linked to the gowning number of women who now have access to education in my native country compare to what is was in previous years. I also witnessed the growing number of women who are no longer afraid to stand up for themselves when their rights are being violated. Some people will look at this statement and will not call it a movement when in fact it is one.
I could define grassroots movement building as a movement that connect people from different background to a unique cause. The women who gather together to make the change had something in common and did not received any favor without fighting for their rights as a group. In order words, the dominant race did not voluntarily decide to let the women attend school or honor their desires without the push from a movement coming from the women themselves. Regardless of how a movement begins or how it carries itself, if a movement can make changes starting from the bottom, it is a grassroots movement from my understanding.
I tried to understand the struggles of the women in my country and discovered some facts showing that one-third of girls over six never go to school in some parts of the country. Education as we know it, is a fundamental human right and it’s essential for the exercise of all other human rights. Depriving the right to education to the girls is therefore a violation of their individual rights and a barrier to their freedom and empowerment that could prevent them to access important benefits in the society. I reviewed some books that talk about the big Haitian women’s movement of 1986 to see how far we came from and how far we need to go. I feel that this growing women movement which started in 1986 was successful because it did not left behind the Haitian women in the rural areas. It was a grassroots movement in the sense that it gives a voice and a platform to these women by breaking the barrier of exclusion. As a proof of the power of this movement, on April 3, 1986, more than 30,000 women took to the streets of Port-au-Prince, Haiti in a peaceful protest organized by some 15 different groups to revolt against exclusion. This was an unpredictable result that surprised those who did not believe in the power of women groups. Since then, April 3 has been proposed as a national women’s day in Haiti. Like other women living in earth, Haitian women have to fight all type of abuses and a movement around continuing education and equal pay still have his place in the society where ever a women might be located in the planet.
Grassroots movement is very important for a sustainable change. I came a little bit late in the movement as an activist against violence against women and wrote a piece with Margaret Satterthwaite in 2011 to advocate against all type of abused against women after the earthquake in Haiti in 2010( Building Back Better: A New Future for Haiti's Women). We were able to reach out to a lot of people that we never met face to face by posting this article on the internet. I think that in building a movement, we need to consider all type of contemporary resources available to us. I made some connection with World Pulse that I will consider in my involvement in any future advocacy work that I will be doing. The fight for women’s education should continue worldwide. The internet is becoming one of the tools that I can use to connect with other women. It is a tool that we can’t ignore if we want to reach out to the world and receive feedback. I receive a lot of comments from people who did not know the struggles of the Haitian women after Margaret S and myself wrote the above mentioned post. A movement does not necessary mean being on the streets or doing an in person rally. We can do an “internet rally or virtual rally” if we want to, depending on how creative we became on deciding the rules. I would love to hear what people have a mind to begin with!!
My words are not intended for people actually living in Haiti. I learned that women in some other parts of the world do not have equal access to education. I also learned that some educated women do not have access to equal job opportunity or equal pay. The fight for women’s education should continue worldwide if we all agree that statistics is a science, a branch of mathematics whose focus is data analysis methods and models.Grassroots Mobilizing