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wlotus posted this in the womenofstrength community, and it's perfect for here: - bonobogirl [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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wlotus posted this in the womenofstrength community, and it's perfect for here: [Jul. 10th, 2005|12:28 pm]


a place where women rule
a place where women rule
all-female village in kenya is a sign of burgeoning feminism across africa
by emily wax, washington post
july 9, 2005

umoja, kenya—seated cross-legged on tan sisal mats in the shade, rebecca lolosoli, matriarch of a village for women only, took the hand of a frightened 13-year-old girl. the child was expected to wed a man nearly three times her age, and lolosoli told her she didn't have to.

the man was lolosoli's brother, but that didn't matter. this is a patch of africa where women rule.

"you are a small girl. he is an old man," said lolosoli, who gives haven to young girls running from forced marriages. "women don't have to put up with this nonsense anymore."

ten years ago, a group of women established the village of umoja, which means unity in swahili, on an unwanted field of dry grasslands. the women said they had been raped and, as a result, abandoned by their husbands, who claimed they had shamed their community.

stung by the treatment, lolosoli, a charismatic and self-assured woman with a crown of puffy dark hair, decided no men would be allowed to live in their circular village of mud-and-dung huts.

Read the rest at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/08/AR2005070801775.html?nav=rss_world/africa

[User Picture]From: sassenach1970
2005-07-12 10:23 am (UTC)
it's this type of story that gives me hope ....

Recently, I read, in the "Wall Street Journal" of all places, about a practice in Africa (especially in Muslim countries) where women are being forced to marry at age 13, and even younger in some places, because their pious fathers are worried about teenage preganancy.

The effects of this are devastating .... these women are too undeveloped to deliver, but there is very little care given to them -- some have been known to be in labor for literally DAYS at a time, which causes them to develop fistulas ..... a tear between the vagina and the bladder which makes it impossible for these women to have normal bladder control. In extreme cases, infection and death result, in less extreme, the woman is never able to have another child.

The article was horrifying, but the girl who was in the story, after suffering while waiting for a fistula repair surgery, went back to school and her father started a movement to try to convince the men not to marry off their daughters so young ....

Stories like these remind me that it is only an accident of fate that I was born in a country where women's basic freedoms are almost taken for granted. Where medical technology and education allows for women to be able to question marriage, pursue careers and choose not to have children. Where for the most part we are not slaves to our biology. It reminds me to be grateful for my fortune, and to want to help others who are not as fortunate.

Hopefully, the G8 conference addressing the African situation will take these issues into account. Women's rights are human rights, and to allow such things to happen is a cruel violation of basic human rights.
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