Fahima Hashim, director of Salmmah Women's Resource Centre, says she believes all women should have a choice over who they marry, whether they get educated #twconf12 #womensrights
Fahima Hashim, a South Sudanese women's rights activist, was engaged to be married at age 14. But she went to university and spent the time thinking about how she could get out of the arranged marriage. Her mother encouraged her to resist quietly, not to misbehave or she would lose the battle if she shouted and screamed. Instead, Hashim said she was docile and listened, but never agreed to proceed with the marriage until her fiance's family grew tired of waiting and walked away from the engagement. But the men in Hashim's family said she would encourage other women to resist the culture. Hashim then decided her destiny was to work for women's rights.
Jimmie Briggs of Man Up Campaign says he realised he had a responsibility as a journalist and as a man to hold the men around him accountable in terms of how they related to and treated women. That's his motivation for his work #twconf12 @briggsjimmie
Jimmie Briggs, an American journalist and founder of ManUp Campaign, said he realised that his responsibility was to start being active and to hold himself and other men accountable for the injustice women face, to show and affirm to men a different way of being a man, and that just saying "I am not sexist" is not enough. He says he works on mentoring other men and holding them accountable for their inaction, as well as their action.
Sima Samar, chair of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, says she went through 12th grade education but had to marry in order to continue with a university education. Fortunately, her husband supported her but he disappeared under the Russian occupation. Samar then had to confront conservative men in her family and her in-laws who viewed her as their property and resisted her pursuing her academic studies. She now works for the empowerment of women and girls.
Sima Samar of Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission says culture isn't a set of rules that only applies to women. Religion has limitations for men and women. Culture has limitations for men and women. So we have to look at the issue in a way that reduces the negative impact on women's rights. #twconf12
Samar says women's rights and human rights are a political issue. Culture and religion have been used in Afghanistan to silence women. During the Russian invasion, women were completely sidelined and no one was talking about women's rights because they were supporting the Mujahaddin. By putting all the boys into religious schools during that period led to developing the foot soldiers for the Taliban. Now, Samar says women must challenge how culture is used against women. "Culture is not a set of rules that only apply to women. Religiion has limits for both men and women. We have to look at how to reduce the negative impact on women's rights," she said. .