Sailing through a session on Gender Equality – Habiba Abdallah.

Life is covered with many events. While we tend to forget most of these moments, some of them stick to our memories because of their profound meaning and values to us.

One event which has helped to ignite my passion for empowering youth and generations was a few months ago when I had successfully finished facilitating Goal 4 and was to start Goal 5 – Gender Equality.

Naturally, it was time to discuss an important topic which has been trending globally over a decade. A lot of ifs bubbled on my mind as I didn’t want to jump-start the session in a way that will leave students more confused. What if this topic is misunderstood? What if girls wouldn’t understand that they have the right to equal opportunities as boys?

I needed to make these young ones understand the concept and what it entails. From previous experiences, it has always been challenging discussing and making colleagues, friends and communities understand this agenda.

I commenced the topic with scenarios and gender-based questions with the support of Patricia Acquah, my co-facilitator. I sailed through all my thoughts and ifs that left me to think the students will make the session a more difficult one.

It was an outstanding session because it raised so many questions and narratives that needed to be addressed such as “It’s a must for a woman to cook for me and do all house chores because I provide money for the family!” Said a student

Are you surprised? Oh, there were a lot more which made me realised how societal norms (though unique in its own way) are deeply rooted in these young ones and if not blessed with programmes such as MTW – Get Global, we would have a long way to go in changing these narratives.

So yes after so much, some positive affirmations during debriefing were “I am glad facilitator made me understand gender equality and that it’s not a must for woman to cook and do house chores.” “We have to be supportive of each other to achieve our goals as men, women, girls and boys”

This session was a memorable one to me mainly because it boosted my confidence level, made me happy and emotional because I felt my years of facilitation and hard work were finally being paid off!

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