Women Who Dare: Susan Akajo Oregede Challenges Gender Norms in Uganda

Susan Oregede

Susan Akajo Oregede has dedicated the past several years of her life to changing gender norms in Uganda, daring to challenge resistance, tradition, and even her community’s leaders to address issues like women’s equality, gender-based violence, and adolescent sexuality.

As the technical manager for Pathfinder’s Gender Roles Equality and Transformation (GREAT) project in Uganda, Susan uses a daring and innovative approach called “looking inward” to examine and challenge her own perceptions of gender norms as a means of better addressing gender issues in the communities she serves. As a native Ugandan shaped by her communities’ norms and values, Susan looks inward first, recognizing that better understanding her own gender biases will give her valuable perspective, making her better able to help others challenge their own similar ideas about gender roles.

Bravery isn’t exactly a requirement of every job, but it certainly is in Susan’s case. She is an inspiring example of a “woman who dares” and one of many Pathfinders for whom challenging the status quo is a key part of both work and life.

Pathfinder’s Lauren McKown spoke with Susan to learn more about her work with the GREAT project, the “looking inward” approach, and how she overcomes resistance to change.

What do you think are some of the biggest barriers related to gender norms facing daring young women in Uganda today?
In my view, the biggest barrier to changing gender norms is within us. The way we perceive the issue of gender equality will affect our ability to influence other people to adopt gender equitable behaviors.Most barriers that young women face related to gender norms are social. Others are related to cultural values that make up particular societies and others relate to religion. Other barriers are personal. The fact that we are all shaped by cultures that discriminate against women means that we go through internal battles that affect the energy with which we tackle gender norms. Our inner feelings and perceptions, if not well addressed, bar us from confronting the gender issues head on.

In my view, the biggest barrier to changing gender norms is within us. The way we perceive the issue of gender equality will affect our ability to influence other people to adopt gender equitable behaviors. So in order to address that inner feeling, it is important to look inward first before attempting to look out.

How has “looking inward” changed your approach to your work?
Looking inward has enabled me and my colleagues to do our work with a lot of passion. Looking inward first is a very important aspect of our work on the GREAT project and I recommend anyone doing gender norm transformation to take this approach. Since we, the champions, came from the same communities in which we are working and are shaped by the same negative cultures, beliefs, and perceptions, looking inward first gives us the opportunity to reflect, dialogue, and challenge our own beliefs related to gender inequality before we move out to the community. Only then can we realize the benefits of change and develop the courage and confidence to champion this change in the communities we serve.

Susan Oregede

You have committed your career to addressing gender equality. What initially inspired you to pursue this kind of work?
My inspiration to be a gender champion came from my first job as a gender officer in 2000 with a microcredit program. During that time, I saw how women who received loans suffered at the hand of their husbands. The men would take away the loan and use the money to drink. The women would suffer the consequences, being the ones who had to pay it back. This made me realize how important, yet very challenging my role was as a fighter for women's rights.

Later as a gender-based violence officer working with survivors, I came face-to-face with different representations of gender-based violence. Although it was traumatizing, the smiles that engulfed their faces after being helped gave me the motivation to continue working as an advocate for violence- free relationships and communities.

Uganda has had some very daring women who have worked hard to make the difference we see in the lives of women today. They speak out on every aspect of gender discrimination without any fear or favor. Working with them has been a real inspiration to me.

Did you consider your work daring at the time?
This work has been daring and I still consider it daring. It is not easy in the community where I work to stand before elders, religious leaders, men and even women and tell them, for instance, that it is okay for a woman to decide the number of children she should have or that real men are those who help women with household chores. You risk being chase away. There are times when I have said things in public gatherings and people thought I was joking. It takes several meetings, courage, and persistence to make people see the benefits of gender equality. When I started my work as a champion  for violence-free relationships, I wasn’t married yet and one day the participants challenged me saying I was just a young woman who did not know what it was like being married and therefore did not understand what I was talking about. You need a daring spirit to keep on.

As a part of GREAT, you tackle some challenging subjects like gender-based violence and adolescent sexuality. In your experience as someone from Uganda, working in Uganda, why is it important to be outspoken about these issues?
It is not easy in the community I work in to stand before elders, religious leaders, men and even women and tell them, for instance, that it is okay for a woman to decide the number of children she should have or that real men are those who help women with household chores.Sexuality education is not common among the young people in Uganda. In fact, it is shameful to talk about sex in public, or worse still, with a young adolescent. This has created an information gap among adolescents about their sexuality, increasing their vulnerability to unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and inability to handle their puberty changes among others leading to school dropout.

I think the approach taken by GREAT is unique: trying to address the problem of gender-based violence and adolescent sexuality from the root cause by transforming people’s perceptions and social norms and targeting young people. Speaking out about these issues will lead to a generation of transformed young men and women and will ultimately contribute to improved sexual reproductive health and gender equality.

If you had one piece of advice for those who want to dare to make a difference for women, what would it be?
First, believe in your own message. Be courageous and be patient because it takes time before you can see the results of this work. Emphasize the benefits rather than the rights and get a few influential people from the community you serve on your side so you can build on the community level.

This post is part of Pathfinder's "Women Who Dare" series in celebration of International Women's Day 2013. Read more stories of daring women and learn how you can take action at www.pathfinder.org/WomenDare.

Leave a Comment

* Change

Comments

Gafas Baratas Espero que desarrollen una política más orientada a la solidaridad Gafas Baratas
Gafas Online November 20, 2014
She should have or that real men are those who help women with household chores. You risk being chase away. Connaughton
Connaughton November 20, 2014
Very informative and impressive post you have written, this is quite interesting and i have went through it completely, an upgraded information is shared, keep sharing such valuable information. unduh lagu gratis.
Ganeisberto November 20, 2014
Hello! And as for the forms? Measurements are maxi bags are large though often carried by hand, the lines do not have middle ground, modern, square or round and feminine. The bags are carried by hand or under your arm, point out that even the clutch, except for the small jeweled versions, lengthen the measures appearing flat but at the same time almost spacious.Coach Cross Body Purses Coach Factory Outlet Coach Outlet Handbags 70% Off Coach.com Outlet Coach Outlet Handbags Bags Purses Outlet Stores -80%Off- Coach Factory Outlet Coach Outlet Store Online Coach Outlet Store Online Coach Outlet York Offer Coach Factory Outlet Save Big At Coach Outlet Stores Coach Factory Outlet Coach Store Nearest You Coach Outlet Coach Outlet USA Coach Outlet Online Coach Factory Outlet Fall 2014 Coach Factory Save Big At Coach Outlet Stores Coach Handbags Outlet Coach Handbags And Other Designer Coach Factory Outlet Hermes Belt - Hermes Belt Cheap Hermes Birkin Bag Handbags Belts Outlet Stores Online Hermes Belt For Sale Coach Factory Fall 2014 Coach Outlet Online Coach Outlet York Offer Coach Outlet Store Online Coach Outlet Store bags Coach Outlet Coach Outlet Store Online Fall 2014 Coach Outlet Online Ohio State Strength Coach Coach Outlet Online Ohio State Strength Coach Coach Factory Outlet Coach Outlet USA Coach Black Friday Coach Black Friday Handbags Chanel Black Friday Save Up to 80% Off Now! Amazing Offers on Chanel Perfume Coach Outlet Line Store Coach Shoes, Handbags, Flats, Boots, Flip flops Kate Spade Outlet Online Kate Spade New York Handbags Kate Spade Handbags Amaz On Kate Spade Handbags Kate Spade Outlet Online Kate Spade Online Shopping Kate Spade Cyber Monday Kate Spade Black Friday Michael Kors Outlet Michael Kors. Sign In Michael Kors Outlet Online Michael Kors Outlet Store 80 % Off Michael Kors Outlet Michael Kors Outlet Online Or Ln-Store Michael Kors Outlet Online Michael Kors. Sign In Michael Kors Black Friday Black Friday Michaels Ad Michael Kors Outlet Store Sale Now Save Up To 75% Off Michael Kors Outlet Michael Kors Apparel Michael Kors Outlet Stores Michael Kors Outlet 49.00 Michael Kors Outlet Online Michael Kors Outlet Online Sale Now Save Up To 68% Off Michael Kors Outlet Michael Kors. Sign In Louis Vuitton Outlet Louis Vuitton Outlet Stores Louis Vuitton Louis Vuitton Store Louis Vuitton Outlet Online Louis Vuitton Bags And Purses Louis Vuitton Outlet Stores Authentic Louis Vuitton Outlet Store LV Bags Louis Vuitton Handbags Louis Vuitton malletier Louis Vuitton Black Friday Louis Vuitton Outlet Deals Louis Vuitton Outlet Louis Vuitton Store Malletier Prada Outlet Prada S.p.A. Is An Italian luxury Prada Handbags Prada Handbags at Bluefly Prada Black Friday Cheap Prada Outlet Online Handbags On Clearance Marc By Marc Jacobs Marc Jacobs Handbags Celine Handbags Celine Handbags Nordstrom Celine Handbags How Much Are Celine Handbags Ray Ban Sunglasses Shop Ray Ban Sunglasses Online Oakley Sunglasses Cheap Oakleys Sunglasses Outlet Store USA With High Quality Ray-Ban Sunglasses Ray-Ban Is The Global Leader In Premium Eyewear Ray Ban Sunglasses Free Overnight Shipping & Returns Ray Ban Sunglasses Ray Ban Your Online Sunglasses Store Ray Ban Black Friday Ray Ban Black And Red Oakley Sunglasses Oakley Sunglasses Including Holbrook Oakley Sunglasses Oakley Sunglasses Outlet Up To Oakley Vault Oakley Creates Free Oakley Black Friday 100% Authentic Oakley Sale Black Friday And The Discount Toms Outlet Toms Outlet Shoes Hollister Clothing Store Hollister Clothing Abercrombie And fitch Abercrombie 75% Off Coup On Abercrombie And Fitch Off 80% On Premium Eyewear Abercrombie Abercrombie Black Friday Abercrombie Black People Polo Ralph Lauren Ralph Lauren Outlet Polo Ralph Lauren Outlet Online Ralph Lauren Clearance Outlet Tory Burch Outlet Tory Burch Outlet Store Tory Burch Shoes Tory Burch Outlet Online Discount Price Tory Burch Outlet Discount Tory Burch Shoes Tory Burch Black Friday Tory Burch Black Wedge Nike Air Jordan All Michael Jordan Shoes Valentino valentino.com Toms Shoes Outlet Online Toms Outlet Supra Shoes supra.com True Religion True Religion Outlet True Religion Black Friday Black True Religion Jeans Women True Religion Jeans True Religion Outlet True Religion jeans True Religion Clothing Store Tiffany Black Friday Tiffany Cyber Monday Deals Frey Wille Jewellery Frey Wille Jewellery Prices Sac Longchamp Sac Longchamps Paris Red Bottom Shoes Red Bottom Shoes Shop For And Buy Red Bottom Shoes Online Red Bottom Shoes Red Bottom Shoes Save Up To timberland Shoes Off 70% Outlet Ralph Lauren Black Friday The Latest Ralph Lauren Apparel, Accessories Michael Kors Outlet Store Michael Kors Outlet Coach Factory Store Coach Wallets for Women Burberry Handbags Burberry Handbags on Clearance Burberry Oultet Online Burberry Factory Outlet Store Chanel Outlet Online Chanel Factory Outlet Store Online Chanel Handbags Authentic Cheap Chanel Handbags CoCo Chanel Chanel Perfume Mademoiselle 50% Off Chanel Handbags Chanel Oultet 75% Off Website Tiffany and co Tiffany and co jewelry Tiffany and co Bold clutches, modern backpacks, embellished totes: This season was all about a statement accessory. Here, all the best, busiest bags we want to grab onto.
coachoutlet November 20, 2014
Burberry Outlet, http://www.burberry-factory.com/
The North Face Clearance, http://www.thenorthface.so/
Coach Outlet Online, http://www.official-coachoutlet.com/
Barbour Jackets Outlet, http://www.barbour-factory.com/
Abercrombie And Fitch Clothes, http://www.abercrombiee.com/
Burberry Outlet Online, http://www.burberryoutlet2014.com/
Prada Outlet Online, http://www.shophandbagsonline.com/
Burberry Clothes Outlet, http://www.clothes-mall.com/
Cheap Gucci Clothes, http://www.guccibags.us.com/
Marc Jacobs Outlet, http://www.marcjacobsonsale.com/
Cheap MCM Backpack, http://www.mcmworldwide.ca/
Gucci Bags Outlet, http://www.guccishoes-uk.com/
Kate Spade Outlet Online, http://www.kate-spades.com/
Louis Vuitton Outlet Online, http://www.louisvuittonas.com/
Louis Vuitton Outlet, http://www.lv-guccishoesfactory.com/
Michael Kors Outlet Online, http://www.michaelkors.so/
Michael Kors Outlet, http://www.michaelkorsonlineusa.com/
Michael Kors Black Friday, http://www.michael-korsusa.net/
Moncler Outlet, http://www.moncler-clearance.com/
North Face Outlet, http://www.north-faceoutlets.net/
North Face Jackets Clearance, http://www.northsclearance.com/
Cheap Oakley Sunglaases, http://www.oakleyssunglassoutlet.com/
Michael Kors Outlet Online, http://www.official-mkoutlet.com/
Prada Outlet Online, http://www.official-pradaoutlet.com/
Polo Outlet Store Online, http://www.polo-outlets.com/
Polo Outlet Online, http://www.ralph-laurens.com/
Ralph Lanren UK, http://www.ralphlaurentshirts.com/
Longchamp Outlet Online, http://www.longchampsoutlet.com/
Coach Outlet Online, http://coach.mischristmas.com/
Barbour Jackets Black Friday, http://www.barbour-jacketsoutlet.com/
Monster Beats Outlet, http://www.beatsbydreoutlet.net/
Polo Outlet, http://www.ralphslauren.co.uk/
Uggs Boots Sale, http://www.warmbootssale.com/
Woolrich Jackets Outlet, http://www.woolrich-clearance.com/
Nike Air Max Shoes, http://www.nike-jordanshoes.com/
Monster Beats Outlet Online, http://www.monsterbeatsbydres.net/
Cheap Canada Goose Jackets, http://www.canada-gooser.com/
Coach Factory, http://www.bestcustomsonline.com/
Coach Black Friday 2014, http://www.coach-blackfriday2014.com/
coachfactory.com/shop, http://www.coachccoachoutlet.com/
Coach Bags Store, http://www.coach-clearance.com/
Coach Factory Outlet, http://www.coach-factories.net/
Coach Factory Store, http://www.coach-factorysoutlet.com/
Coach Outlet, http://www.coachlosangeles.com/
Tommy Hilfiger Outlet Online, http://www.tommyhilfiger.in.net/
Coach Outlet Online, http://www.coachoutletstates.com/
Cheap Coach Purses, http://www.coach-pursesoutlets.com/
Hermes Bags Outlet, http://www.hermes-outletonline.com/
Black Friday, http://www.misblackfriday.com/
Coach Factory Outlet Online, http://www.mischristmas.com/
Moncler Jackets Outlet, http://www.moncler-jacketsoutletonline.com/
Coach Purses Store Online, http://www.newoutletonlinemall.com/
Ralph Lauren Polo, http://www.ralphlaurenepolo.com/
Coach Outlet Online, http://www.zxcoachoutlet.com/

Michael Kors Factory, http://michaelkorsoutlet.mischristmas.com/
MCM Outlet Online, http://mcmbackpack.mischristmas.com/
Beats by Dre Outlet, http://monsterbeats.mischristmas.com/
North Jackets Outlet Online, http://northfaceoutlet.mischristmas.com/
Michael Kors Outlet Online, http://mk.misblackfriday.com/
Coach Outlet Online, http://coachoutlet.misblackfriday.com/
Coach Factory Outlet, http://coachfactory.misblackfriday.com/
Ugg Boots Sale, http://uggaustralia.misblackfriday.com/
Cheap Coach Purses, http://coachpurses.misblackfriday.com/
Coach Outlet Online USA, http://coachusa.misblackfriday.com/
Coach Outlete, http://coach.misblackfriday.com/
Michael Kors Black Friday, http://michaelkorss.misblackfriday.com/
Michael Kors Outlet, http://michaelkors.misblackfriday.com/
Nike Air Max, http://airmax.misblackfriday.com/
Michael Kors Sale, http://michael-kors.misblackfriday.com/ bloomingdales coupons, http://www.shophandbagsonline.com/ Louis Vuitton Outlet Online Hermes Outlet Online Prada Outlet Chanel Outlet Online gucci backpack Burberry Outlet Celine Outlet Balenciaga Outlet Christian Dior Outlet Online Chloe Outlet Online Bvlgari Outlet Online Bally Outlet coachfactory.com Michael Kors Outlet Online MCM Backpack Outlet Online Fendi Outlet Online mulberry Outlet Marc Jacobs Outlet Miu Miu Outlet Online Ysl Outlet Online Tory Burch Outlet Online Givenchy Outlet Online Ferragamo Outlet Online Lancel Outlet Online Loewe Bags Outlet Online Tods Outlet Online Paul Smith Outlet Online Dolce Gabbana Outlet Online Alexander Wang Outlet Online Bottega Veneta Outlet Online



Kailey November 20, 2014
Toko online kami menjual baju import dari korea dengan harga yang murah, silahkan kunjungi website kami di Baju Online Murah. Grosir pakaian dari Jakarta menjual beraneka jenis pakaian model terbaru klik infonya di sini. Toko Online kami menjual dompet dan tas dengan model terbaru dengan harga yang murah, baik itu tas branded maupun lokal, kualitas barangnya terjamin. Seperti tas punggung jansport, dengan banyak pilihan model dan warna, lihat di sini. Kami juga menjual aneka tas wanita branded dengan model yang elegan, cantik, dengan harga terjangkau, namun kualitas baik, silahkan lihat koleksi selengkapnya. Lihat juga koleksi dompet untuk anak dengan beraneka macam motif dan gambar yang lucu. Lihat -lihat juga toko tas online ini, yamg menjual tas dan dompet wanita dan pria model terbaru. Apabila wajah anda bermasalah, sering berjerawat, simak info perawatan wajah berjerawat, yang bisa anda praktekan sendiri di rumah. Baca juga info dan tips cara pengobatan jerawat secara alami yang dapat membantu anda dalam menghilangkan jerawat. Selain itu ada juga cara menangani bekas jerawat secara alami maupun medis, baca selengkapnya di sini. Sudah mendengar tentang Alat kecantikan nano Spray? Alat kecantikan kulit ini dapat mengatasi berbagai permasalahan kulit. Konon katanya alat ini memliki khasiatnya yang sama dengan treatment oksigen. Grosir baju muslim online menjual gamis dan tunik wanita. Kami juga menyediakan model jilbab terbaru seperti jilbab instan/ bergo dan pashmina yang syar'i namun tetap modis, silahkan lihat koleksinya dengan meng-klik link ini. Toko tas online di Jakarta menyediakan aneka tas keren dan modis. Tas punggung branded dengan model terbaru, silahkan klik link koleksi tas terbaru. Kami juga menjual tote bag aneka motif dan karakter yang lucu dan cantik dengan harga murah, terbuat dari bahan kanvas yang tebal, kualitasnya bagus. Silahkan lihat koleksi tote bag kami klik link ini. Cek juga dompet branded terbaru kami. Cara mengobati jerawat hingga tuntas yaitu dengan menangani jerawatnya terlebih dahulu sampai jerawat tak lagi nampak di wajah anda, silahkan simak caranya, setelah itu lakukan tindakan untuk bekas jerawatnya, dengan cara di blog ini. Alternatif perawatan kulit lainnya yaitu terapi wajah dengan oksigen. Cara ini sudah umum dilakukan, namun tentu saja biasanya tidak murah. Bagi anda yang tertarik metode perawatan ini, nano spray MCI dapat menjadi solusi. Cara kerja nano spray yang mengubah partikel air yang besar menjadi berukuran nano memudahkan oksigen meresap ke dalam pori-pori wajah, simak selengkapnya.
Kikan November 19, 2014
Hello, I was reading this article and this article is just awesome. It was very informative and useful Thankgiving day prayer for roman catholic I'm gonna going to bookmark this website for further reference. First of all i have thank the author of the blog for writing such wonderful article.Thank you so much. Keep writing such useful and knowledgeable article. Bookmarked your site. Thanks.
d November 19, 2014
Thanks for sharing this valuable information. Actually, I am pretty much impressed with your writing too. You have described this content in a very good way. harga crystal x asli harga produk nasa crystal x murah crystal x yang asli harga kristal x crystal x jogja crystal x asli dan palsu
rosimo November 18, 2014
neku naku dash dash thanksgiving day
Thansgiving poems November 18, 2014
Hola, me alegro de leer todo el contenido de este blog y estoy muy emocionado y feliz de decir que el webmaster ha hecho un muy buen trabajo aquí para poner todo el contenido de la información y la información en un solo lugar Download Lagu Indonesia Download MP3 Foto Terbaru Kim Kardashian Unduh Lagu Lewat HP DP BBM Animasi Terbaru
Seojoss November 16, 2014
We hope to start the process of developing the framework that will allow us to find, today, lasting solutions to these issues and to prove emulator xbox 360
emulator xbox 360 November 14, 2014
In a letter sent Thursday to his counterparts in other parties, Mr. Mulcair and the NDP whip Nycole Turmel argues that this is not only a priority but also an obligation emulator xbox 360
emulator xbox 360 November 14, 2014
You can't really say what is beautiful about a place, Efek pemakaian crystal x but the image of the place will remain vividly with youI was very encouraged to find this site. I wanted to thank you for this special read. I definitely savored every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post. Crystal X
santi November 14, 2014
Purnima Mane is Pathfinder's President and Chief Executive Officer. She oversees more than 1,000 staff around the world, an annual budget exceeding $100 million, and sexual and reproductive health programs in more than 20 developing countries. Yelp chicago website design
delivery for November 12, 2014
Hello! This is nice & perfectly executive article on this site! I am very much impressed with your write up too. You have explained this matter in the brilliant way.
thanksgiving 2014 thanksgiving day 2014 thanks giving day 2014 thanksgiving 2014 usa Thanks for the content!
Thanksgiving 2014 November 10, 2014
First, believe in your own message. Be courageous and be patient because it takes time before you can see the results of this work.
Adil November 8, 2014
Sexuality education is not common among the young people in Uganda. In fact, it is shameful to talk about sex in public, or worse still, with a young adolescent.
Adil November 8, 2014
Uganda has had some very daring women who have worked hard to make the difference we see in the lives of women today.
Adil November 8, 2014
Scroll to top