Media Alert / Training

‘Stop telling us we don’t have equal opportunities’ – Swazi girls want leadership

MISA Swaziland | Training
February 20 2013

Girls in Swaziland are yearning for women in positions of power to share knowledge and offer assistance, according to a Swazi Observer article that stemmed from a MISA and COSPE training session on women’s rights.

The training was held in Swaziland’s commercial capital Manzini on February 12 2014.

Winile Mavuso article

Winile Mavuso’s article in the Swazi Observer after the MISA-COSPE training session

In patriarchal Swaziland, girls face many barriers — some of which are invisible cultural barriers — but the girls interviewed in the article said this is no excuse and that women should help one another.

“About 18 girls participated in the discussion and most thought that if successful women both in parliament and in business could encourage others and change could be witnessed in the country,” wrote Swazi Observer journalist Winile Mavuso, who took part in the training.

“They encouraged women to support one another,” continued Mavuso.

The participating journalists at the training: L-R. Patrick Myeni (The Nation magazine) Winile Mavuso (Swazi Observer), Welcome Dlamini (Sunday Observer)

The participating journalists at the training: L-R. Patrick Myeni (The Nation magazine) Winile Mavuso (Swazi Observer), Welcome Dlamini (Sunday Observer)

One of the girls interviewed said: “Give us the spirit instead of telling us we don’t have equal opportunities, create a different mindset to both boys and girls.”

Gender equality movement Half the Sky has compiled the following statistics on educating girls.

  • Two-thirds of the 781 million illiterate adults in the developing world are women
  • Nearly one out of every five girls who enrols in primary school does not complete her primary education in the developing world
  • 75 percent of un-enrolled girls are from ethnic minorities or very poor families, despite being only 20 percent of the population
  • A child born to a literate woman is 50 percent more likely to survive past the age of 5
  • Young women’s earnings will be 10 to 20 percent higher for each additional year in school

Human rights NGO COSPE, in partnership with MISA-Swaziland is running three training sessions for journalists in February on women’s rights. The training forms part of project — supported by the EU Commission and Swaziland’s Action Group Against Abuse (Swagaa) — that aims to encourage girls and women to claim their universal human rights, which are enshrined in the country’s Constitution as well as the many international agreements that Swaziland has signed on to.

Click here to read about the first training session in Mbabane

The next training will be held in the town of Sitiki.

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