Matipi Joan Tlali – Lesotho

Matipi Joan Tlali – Lesotho

Date: June 30, 2015
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I am a clerical assistant at the Council, and the gender focal person in Tsana Tanana. I am in charge of gender issues, and facilitate all the SADC gender protocol activities within the Council.

Gender Links taught me about sharing responsibilities and being equal. We, as women, have been living under the oppression of our husbands. I was particularly a victim of this, but now my husband is no longer alive. I am changed now, because I know how to talk to our people about gender equality. Even in terms of gender based violence, most women do not know that they are being abused; they think that it’s part of being a woman. But after being with them, and teaching them that they are human beings who have a right to live in peace, I have seen a great change. I have even seen the change at work. They now call me ‘MaGender’ at work, meaning a “woman of gender”. This is because I often talk about situations that are not promoting gender equality, and rebuke patriarchal actions. I tell people that you as a woman have to share equally with your man. So, I believe that there is change in our communities, in homes and at work. Gender Links has brought changes to our lives.

I have gained skills in training people about gender based violence (GBV). I have also gained skills in monitoring and evaluating small businesses that women build, as part of the entrepreneurship skills given to survivors of GBV. For example, these women have been given funding from other NGOs, and GL has equipped them with the necessary entrepreneurship skills and the zeal to make their lives change.

One of the main challenges I face is that in both my family and the community, most men say that I am trying to change our culture. I have found out that in the end, bit by bit, they come to understand that what we are doing is for the well-being of all people. Gender equality brings development for men as well as for women.

I believe that I am going to go far with Gender Links. My life has changed, and I am still going to change the lives of other people in the community. I want to be a gender activist. Wherever people are gathered, I like to talk about gender equality and gender mainstreaming in our communities. This is central to how people are being treated, especially orphans, vulnerable children and even widows. I am still fighting for that.

I am working at the grassroots level, and have not yet had an impact at a policy level. However, I do understand that there are laws which are oppressing most of our people. We will talk, but it won’t change all at once. It is through our talking and making noise that in the end we will make change. There is a need for policies to change. There is need for women to take high positions at work.


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