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CAMEROON: Why I March...

Zoneziwoh Mbondgulo-Wondieh
Posted January 31, 2017 from Cameroon
Photo by Sally Buck on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Zoneziwoh was among the estimated 3.5 million who marchedin one of the largest global mobilizations for women's rights in history.

“We will no longer keep quiet until every single woman in every single part of the world is free.

I march for myself. I march for my safety. I march to be a voice for change.

I marchfor the millions of women and girls who live under the worst forms of dictatorship and tyranny.

I march for those who are unable to freely exercise their constitutional and democratic rights to freedom of expression and choice.

I marchbecause I am tired of hearing officials make promises in meetings and at events, only to see very little action taken to bring these promises to fruition.

I march because it is time to let everyone know that the world is failing at advancing women’s rights.

I march for the millions of women and human rights defenders who receive death threats, who are sentenced to jail, and who are killed for challenging dictatorial regimes and speaking up against injustice.

I march because, at the moment, my government is legalizing and normalizing State-sponsored violence, policing of women’s bodies, and the imprisonment of those who speak truth to power.

I march because it is my human and democratic right to march.

The Power in Protest

On January 21, I joined the Women’s March from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where I was attendingthe Gender is My Agenda Summit. While my participation was mostly virtual, I could feel the physical energy of the estimated 3.5 million women who stood up for the rights of women and girls from communities and neighborhoods across the globe.

It was an exhilarating experience to march alongside my global sisters.

There is a history of organized events in the global women’s movement. I think of Seneca Falls, where women gathered at the first women’s rights convention in 1848. Then, in 1975, the First WorldConferenceon the Status ofWomenwas held in Mexico City. More recently, we saw the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995.

Those events were momentous. January’s event will prove to be momentous too. Reports estimated that 31,000 women participated at Beijing. January’s Women’s March, some 20+ years later, saw more than 3 million protesters march against gender injustice.

To be sure, our sheer numbers on January 21 made it clear that it is not acceptable for government officials to relax commitments to gender justice.

We Will Not Relax Until All Women Are Free

By now, I should hope world leaders are revisiting their commitments to advancing women's issues. Most importantly, I hope they are rethinking their stances on women's sexual and reproductive choices and decisions.

May governments hence be aware that we will no longer keep quiet until every single woman in every single part of the world is free.

Governments andleaders with the power to influence change will continue to have their closed-door meetings and conferences. But they must know that we will continue to hold massive public marches on a global scale to stand up against anyone who dares to devalue and disrespect women and our rights.

And me? I will continue tomarchbecause I believein the power of WOMEN.

Comments 9

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Adahmbah
Feb 01, 2017
Feb 01, 2017

My dear ZO,

Great Inspiration sister, i am carried by your words and the great assurance for a better world for women and girls. Thank you for sharing.

We all will continue to march because we believe in the power of WOMEN

Adah Mbah

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Feb 01, 2017
Feb 01, 2017

dear Zone, 

Thanks for sharing and thanks for marching. The power is with us to make sure the world is a  much better place  for women and girls to live in. 

Stay blessed my dear sister

CATHIE
Feb 03, 2017
Feb 03, 2017

Hi Zone,

Thanks for sharing , Am moved by your infectious energy and optimism for a world that respects and honours girls and women. We all march together for the noble cause.

Cheers,

Cathie.

Clodine Mbuli Shei
Feb 06, 2017
Feb 06, 2017

Hi Zone, 

Good one there. We will march till things are done right. No time for delay.

Thanks for sharing

Julia O
Feb 06, 2017
Feb 06, 2017

Hi Zoniziwah, I loved your post and find it very inspiring to hear from a woman that marched in Ethiopia. It really underscores the global magnitude of the need for equality around the world. This line especially resonated with me: "I march because I am tired of hearing officials make promises in meetings and at events, only to see very little action taken to bring these promises to fruition." It's so true, sadly, and I've seen it in so many different contexts in the overall fight for social justice and equality. I think being aware of it, though, is a great first step and at least for me, helps to give me that extra energy to fight to make those promises into reality and to stop that from happening. Thanks so much for sharing! I really enjoyed reading your story :) Best wishes, Julia

Lana Holmes
Feb 08, 2017
Feb 08, 2017

Dearest Zone... Cannot begin to express my thanks for your post!

Here we are in the US... experiencing a new level of awakening.   Knowing that our sisters around the world walk with us... For ALL of us is is so inspiring!  

Let us steady onward with our arms and hearts interlocked in loving solidarity!

Mary Ero
Feb 09, 2017
Feb 09, 2017

Your words are so inspiring Zone. And I feel like my own little voice can also make a difference

Tamarack Verrall
Feb 12, 2017
Feb 12, 2017

Dear Zone,

You have made a frustrating and dangerous situation into a beautiful call for action. The next time I'm asked why we march I'll just point to your eloquent post. So glad to know you are there with your powerful poetic strength.

With love in sisterhood,

Tam

Margaret Koning
Mar 09, 2017
Mar 09, 2017

Congratulations my friend. Keep up the good work, and stay strong. Us women are important.