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

Really active post to this site. I am very happy to browsing this website. I had fun reading this post. Very useful as well. I didn’t know the procedure can be easy. Your blog is very nice. Thanks for posting this important blog on your website. I appreciate your efforts to bring such a huge list for us. Now visit cash advances Nice feeling by reading this types of things…thanks…
cash advances October 31, 2014
process increased sharply budget specialize check credit score online online months companies
Name October 31, 2014
From Windshield Decals and Custom Greek letters to Custom Stickers For Cars, JDM Decals and more Stickers for Cars has you covered, buy your Sticker today! windshield decals
awfh October 29, 2014
The women who desires gender equality will certainly be hard to fight. It is much better we go back to the natural length of nature of which already prevails. Best Reviews for Minnesota Bankruptcy Attorney Chapter 12
OliverEichelberger October 26, 2014
So in order to address that inner feeling, it is important to look inward first before attempting to look out.http://www.ub-electronic-cigarette.co.uk
http://www.ub-electronic-cigarette.co.uk October 25, 2014
Finally, an issue that I am passionate about. I have looked for information of this caliber for the last several hours. Your site is greatly appreciated. Index Of Mp3 Download Lagu Wali Mp3 Dewa Lagu serba foto Dewi Lagu Mp3 Youtube Mp3 Gambar Foto Togok Emerald Scorlibz Lagu Pop Stafa Mp3 Mp3 Ocean
Sosialkan October 23, 2014
thanks , for the health of the female organs information please visit ... crystal x jual crystal x asli nasa jogja
cx October 22, 2014
super... happy new year box office collection in Chennai
admin October 22, 2014
This is a terrific article, and I would like to read more article if you have any. I am sure that this article are going to get you a lot of fans. Thanks for sharing with us. pusat crystal x jogja jual crystal x original crystal x asli crystal x pusat crystal x nasa crystal x efek negatif pemakaian crystal x pusat crystal x nasa yogyakarta pusat penjualan crystal x di jogja cara pemakaian crystal x jual crystal x asli ciri ciri crystal x asli menjual crystal x asli jogja manfaat crystal x
sustra October 22, 2014
Jual obat keputihan alami tanpa efek samping asli dari pt natural nusantara. Crystal X yang telah terbukti ampuh mengatasi masalah kewanitaan. Bagaimana membedakan antara Crystal X Asli Dan Palsu dan bagimana dampaknya menggunakan crystal x yang tidak asli ? Temukan jawabanya di Distributor Crystal X Asli PT Natural Nusantara
eubby October 22, 2014
Jual beli online bisa anda lakukan jika anda ingin mendapatkan uang dari dunia maya. Anda bisa melakukan ini dengan membuat sebuah website dan mempromosikan website tersebut pada sebuah halaman iklan baris gratis. Jika anda membutuhkan jasa seperti ini silahkan hubungi kami. forum jual beli . Lihat info lengkap dari produk crystal x silahkan baca selengkapnya . Diabetes adalah penyakit yang dapat diobati dengan beberapa produk herbal. Walaupun termasuk sulit namun mengobati pankreas tetap dimungkinkan jika memang obat yang tepat dipergunakan. Saat ini ada beberapa produk herbal yang bisa menjadi alternatif obat diabetes herbal. Obat Kencing Manis . temukan lokasi-lokasi tanah dan rumah di jogya yang sedang dijual klik di sini . Jika anda gemar memasak maka anda memerlukan website yang menyediakan banyak resep yang bisa anda coba. Resep ini bisa anda terapkan dalam usaha anda dan bisa menghasilkan penghasilan tambahan. Jadi silahkan dicoba resep berikut ini. Resep ayam rica-rica asli . tips hamil lainnya silahkan buka halaman web kami. kunjungi blog . Keputihan kerap kali menggangu aktifitas seorang perempuan dan kali ini telah hadir produk herbal dari abe yang bisa membantu kaum hawa untuk mengatasi masalah keputihan dengan cra yang alami dan aman. Anda bisa mendapatkan produk herbal abe yang direkomendasikan dokter boyke ini di sini. Obat Herbal Pelangsing Tubuh, Perut & Turun Berat Badan Alami . baca selengkapnya cara memutihkan kulit dengan benar download di sini . But your muscles actually prefer burning fat for fuel, since fat is relatively easy to extract and provides a comparatively large amount of energy. (Note: Your body will always burn some amount of carbs and fat together, but the ratio of how much. venus factor diet . lihat ragam produk canopy kami di sini baca di sini . Printer kerap kali rusak karena perawatan yang tidak dilakukan. Jadi jika anda membutuhkan suku cadang untuk memperbaiki printer anda hanya bisa mendapatkannya dari hasil bongkar printer lain. Jika anda membutuhkan suku cadang printer bekas silahkan menghubungi blog berikut. Jual Mainboard Printer Epson . kenali manfaat dan produk herbal slim. lihat artikel . Jika anda saat inisedang menurunkan berat badan anda maka anda harus mencoba menggunakan produk herbalife, produk ini bisa membantu anda menurunkan berat badan anda dengan alami dan tanpa efek samping. Jadi silahkan anda memesan produk ini. Produk Herbalife Murah Untuk Turun Berat Badan . beli online samsung galaxy dengan harga murah dari toko ini. baca artikel . Pulau tidung adalah salah satu tempat wisata yang bisa menarik perhatian wisatawan tanah air. Jika anda ingin merencanakan perjalanan wisata anda di pulau tidung maka sebaiknya anda menggunakan jasa paket wisata pulau tidung dengan harga murah berikut. Travel pulau tidung . dapatkan info otomotif selengkapnya di sini lihat penjelasan lengkapnya . Apakah anda ingin merasakan hidup sehat sepanjang hari? Jika ya, maka anda perlu memperhatikan beberapa tips cara menjaga kesehatan anda. Di blog ini anda akan menemukan cara merawat tubuh anda sehingga selalu merasa segar. Tips dan Info Penyakit Umum . Lihat info lengkap dari produk crystal x kunjungi blog . Knalpot motor adalah komponen motor yang dipergunakan sebagai saluran gas buang. Selain itu knalpot juga digunakan untuk meredam bunyi mesin yang sangat bising. Jika anda ingin mendapatkan knalpot yang baik silahkan hubungi di sini. header mobil . temukan lokasi-lokasi tanah dan rumah di jogya yang sedang dijual lihat artikel . Grosir baju muslim dengan model terbaru semakin menarik minat banyak orang karena saat ini semakin banyak sinetron religi yang mempopulerkannya. Jika anda menmyukai hijab dengan model terbaru kami menyediakannya secara grosir sehingga anda bisa mendapatkan harga lebih mudah grosir baju batik wanita modern dan model terbaru murah . tips hamil lainnya silahkan buka halaman web kami. baca artikel . Crystal x adalah produk untuk merawat keputihan, anda bisa menggunakan crystal x ini saat mandi. Tapi bagi yang belum menikah harap diperhatikan cara penggunaan crystal x yang aman ini. Untuk mendapatkan crystal x dari distributor asli silahkan hubungi di sini. Crystal X NASA mengatasi Keputihan . dapatkan panduan takoyaki dan makanan lainnya di sini lihat penjelasan lengkapnya . Yusuf mansur adalah seorang ustadz yang sangat terkenal. Ustadz Yusuf mansur sudah melakukan beberapa proyek seperti membuat bisnis investasi, dan juga membangun sistem dakwah yang moderen. Jika anda ingin mendapatkan info yang lebih lengkap silahkan baca di sini wisata hati yusuf mansur . Dapatkan informasi tentang jual grosir busana harga murah. read more . Listrik prabayar adalah listrik yang dibayar dengan menggunakan token listrik. Pembayaran dilakukan dimuka dan oleh karena itu jika daya telah mencapai batas listrik bisa padam. Jika listrik padam tengah malam anda bisa mendapatkan token listrik online 24 jam di sini. token listrik online 24 jam . dapatkan daftar harga produk apapun itu hanya di sini. lihat penawaran kami . Online shop saat ini semakin beragam. Ada yang menjual busana wanita, tas wanita, sepatu wanita, dan juga aksesoris. Jika anda termasuk peminat barang-barang seperti ini maka anda bisa mendapatkannya dari website berikut ini dengan transaksi aman. boneka alat bantu seks full body . silahkan lihat koleksi baju wanita dan sepatu lainnya lihat penjelasan lengkapnya . Belajar SEO itu sangat sederhana namun melakukan kerjanya itu yang butuh kesabaran. Jika anda tidak mau bingung mempelajari cara SEO dan cara membuat blog silahkan lihat di trikmudahseo cara melakukan optimasi SEO yang dianjurkan. blog tutorial SEO . pelajari lebih lanjut cara membuat blognya baca artikel . Online shop saat ini semakin beragam. Ada yang menjual busana wanita, tas wanita, sepatu wanita, dan juga aksesoris. Jika anda termasuk peminat barang-barang seperti ini maka anda bisa mendapatkannya dari website berikut ini dengan transaksi aman. jual baju wanita online dengan harga murah . silahkan lihat koleksi baju wanita dan sepatu lainnya lihat penjelasan lengkapnya .
Susi October 16, 2014
Challenge our own beliefs related to gender inequality before we move out to the community. pr5+
pr5+ October 15, 2014
Nice article. thanks for the share . happy new year box office collection I must say that overall I am really impressed with this blog.It is easy to see that you are impassioned about your writing. halloween costume ideas for women | Halloween Games For Kids | Halloween quotes
juney October 14, 2014
Its true. there is no documentation easy to find about ctools. your explanation is perfect. worked without problem. short term payday loans
assd2 October 11, 2014
You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post.I was exactly searching for. https://rebelmouse.com/humananatomyandphysiologyguide/
accd3 October 9, 2014
Women are invariably favored by many men. However, now, the girls have grown to combat gender inequality on earth. Highly recommended Garibaldi House Inn Tillamook Hotels Oregon
KathlineDailey October 2, 2014
ebluuzlc http://sdvift.com/ iiykzm [url=http://jlpbai.com/]iiykzm[/url]
hello October 1, 2014
Becoming a Green Business has obvious environmental benefits. Business owners who make the transition will also increase revenue and profitability while reducing risk and cost! 500fastcash.com
acvv October 1, 2014
Being a woman is really a brave thing being done. There are a lot of women that you could see and make an example on earth. Highly recommended Tacoma Landscape Construction
HarryPoteet October 1, 2014
All women do need to be a brave female. There are many challenges ahead that ought to be resolved properly as well as quickly. minecraft server commands
FelipeBozarth September 30, 2014
Scroll to top