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Adult Education for Women Means Education for Freedom

By Sara Longwe

Sara Longwe is a feminist activist based in Lusaka, Zambia, who has pioneered the use of international human rights laws in the fight for women’s rights in domestic courts. She faced her first battle, as a young secondary school teacher, when the government refused to give her maternity leave, despite Zambia’s ratification of an ILO labour convention that required the school to provide 90 days of maternity leave. This led to her becoming a prime mover in a lobbying group that successfully pressed the government to introduce, in 1974, a provision for maternity leave in the teaching service.

In 1984, she was a founding member of the Zambia Association for Research and Development, which was instrumental in pushing the government to ratify CEDAW: the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. In 1992, she won a landmark battle against the Lusaka Intercontinental Hotel, which had refused to admit her because she was not accompanied by a man. Zambia’s ratification of CEDAW was part of the basis of the high court’s ruling.

Former chair for the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET), she developed her own gender conceptual analytical tool popularly known as ‘Longwe Women’s Empowerment Framework’ in the global feminist and gender literature. She has used this framework in her numerous consultancies undertaken with African government gender departments, development agencies and civil society organisations on how to identify and address gender issues for sustainable women’s empowerment.

Continued at: http://www.icae2.org/files/5_eng.pdf

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